Digital Health News can exclusively reveal that Birmingham and Women’s and Children’s NHS FT has picked Epic as preferred supplier for its next EPR.

The specialist trust is understood to have received approval from NHS England for its business case and now awaiting a formal confirmation.

A spokesman at the trust, confirmed the selection of Epic.  “We are working this through and also working the contract through with them as well, which we hope to put in place soon.

Asked about timing on planning and implementation, the spokesman said: “Design and implementation will happen in 2024 with go-live in 2025.”

The selection of Epic will mean that the supplier is used by two of the leading paediatric hospitals in the English NHS.  Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS FT has used the EPR since 2019.

The most digitally mature paediatric hospital in the NHS is Alder Hey Children’s Hospital NHS FT, which is ranked stage 7 on the international HIMMS EMRAM benchmark. Alder Hey uses Meditech for its EPR, recently upgrading to the Expanse version of the product.

The selection of Epic at Birmingham Women’s and Children may though prove a controversial decision locally.  The official digital convergence strategy of the local Integrated Care Board has previously been understood to be standardisation of the locally developed PICS (Prescribing Information Communication System) EPR in use at University Hospitals Birmingham NHS FT.

The decision by NHS England to approve the business case would therefore appears at odds with policies on EPR convergence and placing ICBs in the driving seat on local digital strategy.

An official announcement is still awaited on East Suffolk and North Essex, which Digital Health News reported back in October had chosen Epic as preferred supplier.