Sepsis success highlights Trust’s digital strengths

Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (CUH) has, for the second year running, ranked internationally among elite healthcare organisations in a survey to recognise best practices through the adoption, implementation and use of information technology.

The survey, run by the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) and entitled ‘Most Wired’, was up until last year only open to US healthcare organisations.

However, CUH was allowed to submit an entry to benchmark its digital advancements against leaders in the field and since then the survey has been opened to other international organisations.

This year CUH was ranked as a “top scoring international hospital” at the unveiling of the results, which was held in Chime Fall Forum in San Diego, USA, on 2 November.

An example of technological advances improving patient outcomes at CUH is the 42 per cent reduction in sepsis mortality as a result of electronic alerts designed and built by hospital staff in its Epic electronic patient record system (EPR); part of the Trust’s revolutionary eHospital digital transformation.

The Epic system also helps to prevent at least 850 significant adverse medication reactions a year with electronic prescribing and clinical decision support.

In the past year CUH has extended the capabilities of its Epic EPR to enable patients to access their health records through an integrated patient portal called MyChart, as well as delivering UK firsts in real-time digital patient record sharing both nationally and internationally.  

A secure digital portal to the local Granta Medical Practices has been deployed, which now allows GPs and community nurses at those five practices access to the records of their patients held in our Epic system. The plan is to expand this to other GP practices in the region. 

Dr Ewen Cameron, CUH executive director of improvement and transformation, said: “This recognition shows how far our eHospital digital transformation has come in four years in using technology to improve patient care. It allows us to benchmark ourselves against elite healthcare organisations in the US, where they are much further down the road of digitalisation.

“The big advantage with our Epic EPR is the scope it has for our clinicians to tailor the system to transform patient care. The sepsis alert, which was designed by our staff and built into Epic by our staff, is an excellent example of how much of a difference this can make to patient outcomes.”

Dr Jag Ahluwalia, director of digital at CUH, added: “Our eHospital programme combines the latest in computing technology and mobile devices to enable care to be recorded, in real-time, at the patient’s bedside.

“The Most Wired survey recognises all aspects of digitalisation - the use of electronic patient records combined with the necessary IT support, security, business management, use of data and analytics, and connections with other healthcare organisations – to improve clinical quality, safety and outcomes.

“We have extended our Epic EPR capabilities so that our patients can now access their health records using MyChart. In addition, we are sharing patients records with our clinical colleagues nationally and internationally to advance patient care.

“Such secure sharing of real-time information with patients, other hospitals and our GP colleagues is part of the future of digitalisation in the NHS and we are proud to be at the forefront of that.”

This success comes just a day after the Trust became the first in the UK to validate against the new Stage 6 criteria of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society’s (HIMSS) international Electronic Medical Records Adoption Model (EMRAM); recognising its effective use of digital technology in providing high quality patient care.

Image: Staff use technology at the bedside to care for patients

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