The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust (RWT) has just signed a 10-year contract with System C for an integrated electronic patient record (EPR) system, which will replace the trust’s in-house built EPR and accelerate its digital maturity and roadmap. 

RWT, which is one of the largest acute and community providers in the West Midlands, will be taking a two-step approach to the roll out. The first phase will see the trust’s legacy patient administration system (PAS), emergency department (ED) and theatre systems replaced, before the remainder of the EPR’s clinical functionality – including CareFlow Planning, Patient Flow, Clinical Workspace and PHR Integration – is rolled out in phase two. The project will start in November 2023 and complete with the PAS, ED and theatres’ functionality in 2025 – ahead of NHS England’s target for every trust in England to have an EPR. 

By deploying the latest iteration of System C’s CareFlow EPR, the trust will modernise the way it delivers electronic patient notes across services and integrate all aspects of the care pathway such as order comms, test resulting and electronic prescribing, including medicines administration.  

Nick Bruce, group director of digital technology at The Royal Wolverhampton and Walsall Healthcare NHS Trusts, said: “Anyone who has been faced with the challenge of procuring a new EPR as part of a digital transformation programme will appreciate the amount of work involved to get us to this point. It’s now reassuring for us to be on the starting line of a major deployment with a credible partner that has a proven track record of delivering high-class enterprise-wide systems fit for the future. 

“We’ve had our current PAS for over 20 years, so we want to undertake a phased approach to acknowledge the level of transformation involved and ensure our staff feel comfortable with the scale of change needed. Once live, the EPR will allow clinical teams to see a single view of a person’s entire clinical record, which means our staff can have access to the right information, in the right place, at the right time.”  

Once the new system is live, RWT will enhance integration with its partner trust, Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust, which also uses System C’s CareFlow EPR. This aligns with the trust’s convergence strategy, aimed at optimising patient care through the seamless integration of digital patient platforms across the local area. By leveraging consistent software and information across both trusts, health and care professionals can make more informed decisions and ensure better continuity of care for patients. 

Integration across Black Country ICS

The new system will also integrate with other services that System C provides across the wider Black Country Integrated Care System. This not only offers alignment in technologies, but also a highly accessible and scalable solution for the entire system. 

“We chose System C’s CareFlow EPR for its comprehensive functionality, modern user interface, and advanced clinical capabilities,” Bruce said. “The trust’s legacy systems, including a self-built EPR, have served us well to this point. However, in order to accelerate our digital maturity, the trust needed a strategic and reputable solution, which is scalable through a cloud-based roadmap, and aligns with our own digital plans for the next five to ten years. By choosing System C, we will be supporting our convergence ambitions across the region by enabling integration with neighbouring trusts and the system’s shared care record, One Health and Care.” 

CareFlow’s versatile functionality supports referrals between different organisations via System C’s Affiliated Networks feature. This addresses the need to provide integrated care workflows and enables different trusts to use CareFlow Connect to create an ‘affiliation’ between each other. This facilitates team-to-team dialogue, handovers, task management, and sharing of opinions and clinical advice, ensuring seamless care coordination between providers across acute, community and primary care. 

Professor David Loughton, group CEO of Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust and Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust, said: “We already have a strong working relationship with System C, and this new EPR will play a key role in supporting our staff to deliver high-quality, joined-up care for our patients. It’s also incredibly useful that this system will integrate with other technologies across our local health and care system, ultimately enabling us to create one fully informed, single patient record.” 

Nick Wilson, CEO of System C, said: “We’re proud that System C’s EPR has been chosen to fully support the trust’s requirements to deliver services within an integrated model and join up the digital approach it has with Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust. It means the two trusts will be able to work more effectively with each other, and others in their patch, and deliver against the ambitions of integrated care.” 

Phase one of the deployment will include the Core PAS and EPR clinical elements, with phase two including CareFlow Planning, Patient Flow, Clinical Workspace and PHR Integration.  

The EPR is a central component of Royal Wolverhampton’s digital and operational strategies as it sets its targets on achieving HIMSS Level 5 accreditation within three years, and Level 7 within five years. 

In May, University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust said it was using digital clinical noting from System C to enable the busy paediatric Emergency Department (ED) at Bristol Royal Hospital for Children (BRHC) to reduce reliance on paper forms.