Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust fast-tracks digital maturity

The West Midlands Trust has rapidly deployed Altera Digital Health’s Sunrise EPR solution across its three hospital sites; Worcestershire Royal, Kidderminster Hospital and Alexandra Hospital. This has enabled the Trust to quickly embark upon its digital transformation journey, improving patient safety and streamlining clinical workflows.

The system, which went live in January, has been successfully deployed across the Trust's 56 inpatient wards. It is expected to improve patient safety, release time to care, and reduce length of stay.

Despite the recency of the go-live, benefits of the implementation are already being realised. Tracking boards are improving visibility of patients, enabling clinicians to prioritise patients based on their clinical need, and handwritten notes are now electronically inputted, eliminating the risk of illegible entries, saving time that was spent rewriting or interpreting notes. 

Matthew Little, Chief Nursing Information Officer at the Trust, said, “Clinicians can now see every patient’s National Early Warning Score (NEWS), so more effective decisions can be made more quickly. Clinical time, now more than ever, is precious so being able to release time to care is really benefitting patients, improving the standards of care they are receiving.” 

Patient safety was a major driver for the project. Matthew said, “The system is enabling documentation to be completed more quickly, and to a higher standard. In the first weekend, more than 46,000 documents were created in Sunrise, including referrals and observations. This is providing clinicians with a much fuller picture of their patients, which will keep them safer and improve their experience of care.” 

The system is also helping to release time to care, and further time savings are expected. “Doctors have told us they’re able to complete ward rounds more quickly than before, as all the information is inputted electronically. The forms are auto populated with certain information about the patient, so they can spend more time actually delivering care as opposed to filling out documents,” Matthew said.

The Trust opted for a phased approach when deploying Sunrise EPR. Initially piloting to three wards, the trust introduced it to all adult inpatient wards over four weeks.  “It was important for us to take a phased approach to the go-live, said Stuart Cooper, EPR Programme Director at the Trust. “It enabled us to learn along the way to make the transition as smooth as possible, as for many staff this is their first time working digitally. As a result, we have very quickly been able to improve the baseline of our digital maturity, with minimal disruption to patient care.”

The deployment was led by a multidisciplinary EPR team, made up of technical, clinical, and operational staff, to ensure the solution was reflective of the Trust’s specific needs. 

Stuart said, “The project has been truly collaborative. We have worked closely with Altera, developing their blueprint and localising it to meet our requirements. Having this flexibility has meant we have been able to build a solution that has started benefitting patients right from go live.”

Next, the Trust will be focusing on enhancing the functionality of the system, activating Sunrise EPR in the emergency and outpatient departments, as well as deploying order communications, referrals, and surgery. The Trust will also be going live with electronic prescribing and medicines administration as part of the next phase.

Dr. Anna Bayes, International Medical Director, Altera Digital Health, said, “The team at Worcestershire have demonstrated incredible commitment to this project, and as a result it has been able to quickly improve its digital maturity. Sunrise users are already benefitting from enhanced multidisciplinary communication, visibility of patient observations and serial assessments as well as gaps in care. Time saved looking for paper records is also a huge advantage for busy ward staff.  This is just the initial stage in Worcestershire’s digitisation and we look forward to building on this momentum for even further benefits to be harnessed.” 

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