• Epic electronic patient records system aims to go live by 2019
  • New data platform will create a bank of secure, de-identified data, which can be used in real time
  • IT system will “transform the way in which we manage our research projects” trust says

One of the most high profile trusts in the country has named Epic as its preferred electronic patient record supplier, in a deal worth up to £50m.

Great Ormond Street Hospital Foundation Trust announced last week that it would adopt the US-based Epic system, subject to board approval in April.

The children’s trust, which has an international reputation for its specialised paediatric care, expects that the new system will enhance performance by improving outcomes and reducing variation.

It is now working on a full business case for approval by the trust board in April. If approved, the Epic system will “go live” in 2019, a trust spokeswoman said.

The trust spokeswoman said that the trust was not in a position to reveal the total value of the deal. However the Official Journal for the European Union published the estimated value of the tender in February last year as between £46m and £50m over 20 years.

This week the trust also announced its preferred supplier for a new research and innovation platform: Aridhia Informatics Limited. The platform will work with the electronic patient records system to provide secure, accurate, non-identifiable data in real time to researchers.

In 2015, Great Ormond Street executives discovered that widespread use of paper records had meant that some patient details were not recorded on the hospital’s central computer.

This meant that in some cases, hospital managers were uncertain whether the clock had started on a child’s wait for treatment – or even if the treatment had been completed.

Thousands of children were found to have waited more than the 18-week target for their treatment to start.

The trust brought in an electronic documents and records management system as the first stage of a programme to “fully digitalise the hospital”. The implementation of Epic is stage two.

So far, only one hospital in England Wales has fully deployed the Epic system: Addenbrooke’s Hospital, part of Cambridge University Hospitals Foundation Trust.

Although the project initially led to an increased deficit for the trust and contributed to an “inadequate” rating from the Care Quality Commission, GOSH said its consultants had found the hospital had “put their initial problems [implementing Epic] behind them”.

“The system was delivering significant benefits and supporting the organisation to deliver better clinical care,” GOSH’s spokeswoman said.

Two other hospitals have also announced Epic as their preferred supplier – Royal Devon and Exeter FT in 2015 and University College Hospital, part of University College London Hospitals FT, in November last year.

However, a lack of capital funding has slowed progress at the Royal Devon and Exeter. A trust spokesman said the trust remains committed to implementing an Epic electronic records system, “subject to funding availability”.