NHS England has met the government’s target for 90% of trusts to adopt electronic patient records (EPR) in hospitals, ahead of schedule. 189 trusts have introduced new systems, with Hillingdon Hospitals and Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS trusts becoming the latest to go live.
The government had originally set the target of December 2023 in the Plan for digital health and social care, published last year. Because of this plan, NHS England is investing nearly £2bn in funding to support electronic patient records to be in all NHS trusts and help over 500,000 people to use digital tools to manage their long-term health conditions in their own homes.
Last year, NHS England spent over £400m to support 150 NHS trusts, and a further £500m will reach trusts this year.
“Electronic records give clinicians access to vital patient information when and where they need it, alerting them to immediate risks and giving them more time to care for their patients,” said health and social care secretary Victoria Atkins.
“I am pleased NHS England has met this important target ahead of schedule and look forward to working with the health service to ensure all NHS staff have the resources they need to deliver the modern healthcare our patients deserve.”
Electronic Patient Records (EPR) systems help organisations to change the way they operate and allow for the use of more advanced technology systems for patient care. They enhance productivity and experience for staff, as well as improve the flow of information between services, which in turn makes it easier to provide care.
According to NHS England, there has been an approximate 10% improved efficiency for the most digitised trusts, compared with the less digitally mature providers.
EPR systems in hospitals combine patient notes, lab results, observations and digital prescribing. Alert features can also help clinicians quickly identify those at risk from conditions such as sepsis.
Vin Diwakar, interim national director of transformation at NHS England, said: “Digitalising the NHS is the best way of delivering a modern healthcare system that will help to improve patient care and save lives.
“I’m delighted that 90% of NHS trusts now have electronic patient record systems up and running in hospitals, and we’re continuing to provide support to the remaining 10% to get this vital technology in place. Electronic records will ensure health and care staff have access to patient information when and where it’s needed, supporting them to deliver care efficiently, effectively and safely.”
The government’s 2023 mandate for NHS England set a target for 90% of NHS trusts to have an EPR system in place by December 2023, and 95% by March 2025.