Devon ICS plans integration of EPRs

The Integrated Care System (ICS) for Devon has outlined plans for system-wide integration of its electronic patient record (EPR) systems.

Four projects form part of the ICS’s transformation programme, which include to implement a single EPR for Devon Hospices, focus on paperless working, provide system-wide access to primary care information and the integration of EPRs across the ICS.

Supported by £8.8 million in funding, the ICS aims to deliver longitudinal health and care records in 2021 and enable effective communication between clinical systems.

Devon ICS includes University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust, Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust, Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust, Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust, South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust, Devon Partnership NHS Trust, Devon CCG, local council organisations and 130 GP practices.

The ICS said it “needs to take steps now to make its hospital services fit for the future and for citizens across the area” and noted “while many services are performing well, there are some that are not consistently achieving the best standards of care for local people when compared to best practice elsewhere.”

The ICS also highlighted challenges including a “shortage of suitably qualified people” and for “funding to keep pace with demand for services.”

Across Devon, annual savings of £99 million are needed each year up to 2023/24 to break-even, with eight out of 10 beds used for emergency purposes, and a growing life expectancy of citizens.

The ICS said: “Hospitals in Devon are also spending more than they receive in funding and spend a significant amount on locum and agency staff. With no action, the overspend will increase and some services may not have enough of the workforce, or workload that they need to maintain current levels of quality and safety.”

As part of the transformation plans of the ICS, it notes the role of technology to improve care in a different way or location. It highlights that some services will evolve and develop, whereas some will radically reshape.

HTN reported last year on the EPR go-live at Royal Devon & Exeter NHS FT, on 10 October 2020. The trust went live with Epic, under the programme name of MY CARE, in 2018 – which was the largest ever digital transformation programme at the trust.

At the time, HTN also shared a first hand account of the implementation by David Kwo, EPR consultant and researcher, who supported the implementation and go-live.