• Nottingham University Hospitals recruits EY to investigate digital patient record system
  • Trust spent £14m implementing the system over two years
  • Consultants said records went missing and system was a safety risk

Nottingham University Hospitals Trust has asked consultancy firm EY to carry out an inquiry into its £14m digital health record system labelled a “disaster” by consultants.

In October, HSJ revealed widespread concerns among senior clinicians at the trust who said the system was a risk to patient safety.

The DHR system was introduced two years ago and involves the handwritten notes for patients being sent to a private company where they are scanned, indexed and added to a e-viewing system. The trust spent £14m implementing the system.

Doctors said vital records were often missing, or had been scanned and entered into the system incorrectly, and some had to “guess” why patients were attending clinics.

In one case, an intensive care patient was treated “from memory” because none of their records were available.

A survey carried out by a surgeon last year resulted in 97 out of 100 consultants saying they felt the system was unsafe in its current format.

Following the outcry, the trust accepted there was significant disruption being caused.

In a message to staff, which the trust shared with HSJ this week, medical director Keith Girling said: “Following all of the feedback we have received about DHR… in recent months, there has been a lot of work to capture your views and improve the system. Last year we also undertook to arrange an external review of DHR and our digital strategy. We have appointed EY to undertake this review and we expect their findings by April.”

He told staff further updates and changes to the system would be rolled out in the coming months to improve the way it was working.

The trust said there will be two software updates in the first few months of the year to improve user experience and make changes to the system’s functionality.

The first upgrade will take place on 28 January.

It is also making new videos available to help staff learn to use the system, as well as one to one and class based training.