Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust (RCHT) is making a significant change to improve healthcare in the region with the development of a new electronic patient record (EPR) system.

The EPR solution will eventually provide a single platform for RCHT, replacing several digital and paper-based systems, giving clinicians the most up-to-date patient information; enabling them to spend more time with their patients to provide smoother and safer care.

Chief information officer Kelvyn Hipperson said: “We already use quite a lot of technology but bringing many of our systems together to adopt a single platform will mean we can provide a more joined up way of working across our hospitals, improving safety, and the way we care.

“The EPR is just one aspect of our digital transformation plan which has patient care and safety at its core. 

“We’re currently updating the technology on our wards, and we’ve been named as a UK pilot site for ‘the silent hospital,’ a project that uses smart technology to make the hospital environment calmer for patients.”

Chief medical officer Dr Allister Grant added: “There are massive safety benefits to get from EPRs. 

“For clinicians, information will be more accurate, it will help coordinate patient flow and support effective scheduling in areas like operating theatres and outpatients, it will also hold information from other systems, reducing duplication.

“But it’s great news for patients too with an improved experience across our health and care system. 

“We know that patients often have to repeat their healthcare story, but with an EPR it doesn’t matter which of our hospitals a patient attends, their record will follow their healthcare journey even if they move between our services and departments.”

Design, development and testing of RCHT’s EPR system will be ongoing in collaboration with clinical teams over the next 18 months, with a launch expected in spring 2025.

NHS England is providing £1.9 billion to NHS trusts to ensure they all meet a core level of digitisation and have electronic patient record systems in place. 

This investment in digitising the frontline will ensure that health and care staff have access to health-related information when and where it is needed, supporting them to deliver care efficiently, effectively, and safely, reducing variation and improving outcomes.