The first trust to accept a sweetener payment to switch to the Lorenzo electronic patient record system has admitted it continues to face a series of risks to patient safety and performance arising from its implementation.
Tameside Hospital Foundation Trust was the first trust to implement and deploy the system under an interim agreement drawn up between the Department of Health and supplier CSC, following the unravelling of the IT giant’s contract to exclusively provide patient record systems to the North, Midlands and East regions.
Trust board papers published this month suggest measures to minimise disruption caused by problems with Lorenzo are unlikely to significantly lower the likelihood of serious incidents occurring.
Problems with the system pose a “significant risk” to the quality of patient safety and information governance, according to the trust’s risk score system.
A report by interim trust chief executive Karen James report states: “The risks associated with Lorenzo implementation have been monitored and addressed continuously post go-live and the level, extent and length of early life support activities in securing transition to ‘business as usual’ has been challenging.
“One of the key risks in transition [to Lorenzo] has been the maintenance of operational performance and evidencing that performance. Ensuring that all key operational standards continue to be met has been a significant challenge as users learn a new and unfamiliar system.”
A report from finance director Barbara Herring said the trust undertook 219 fewer elective procedures in November than planned due to a glitch with the Lorenzo system.
Outpatient activity was behind plan by 1,506 patients in the month. “Anecdotally, productivity may have fallen due to
issues with Lorenzo such that clinics are not being fully booked,” Ms Herring wrote.
In November the trust disclosed that it continued to face problems with Lorenzo after the system went live the previous month. Tim Donohoe, senior responsible officer of local service provider programmes at the Health and Social Care Information Centre, was called in to offer support.
The trust also pointed to concerns over the reliability of the link between Lorenzo and its pathology system, for which CSC is also responsible.
Tameside had previously used the Medway patient administration system, provided by the McKesson-owned company System C.
Both Ipswich Hospital Trust and Derby Hospitals Foundation Trust are to follow Tameside in switching to Lorenzo next month in return for ‘sweetener’ payments.