The successful transition from paper-based record keeping to an electronic patient record system in 2022 marks a significant milestone in Mildmay’s journey of modernisation and ever-improving and diversifying healthcare services.
In 2022, we assembled a specialised ‘EMIS team’ to oversee the implementation of EMIS Web – widely-used healthcare software. We began with the crucial task of migrating the data from several older, unlinked systems containing a considerable amount of patient information. A lot of effort was made to train both the data team and end-users to use the new software to maintain data integrity and ensure a seamless transfer of patient records so that everyone was prepared for the system’s official launch in September 2022.
EMIS Web was rolled out in carefully planned phases, first to the Admissions Department and then to ward staff, including nurses and healthcare assistants, and then finally to the Multidisciplinary Team, enabling them to record observations and clinical information electronically. This phased approach to the system's introduction minimised disruptions to hospital operations and gave staff enough time to adapt. The data team’s job didn’t end with the system's launch, they continue to provide continuous in-house training and technical support, and they assist with the training of all new staff members.
One of the key benefits of an effective electronic patient record (EPR) system is enhanced patient care and safety. With all patient information consolidated into a centralised digital platform, real-time medical histories, diagnoses, treatments, and allergies are easily accessed. This level of comprehensive and up-to-date information enables our clinical staff to make informed decisions, avoid potential adverse drug interactions, and provide personalised care tailored to each patient's unique needs. This improved level of coordinated care promotes better communication and teamwork and saves valuable time, leading to better patient outcomes.
The move towards a paperless system significantly reduces paper waste and saves on printing, storage, and labour for managing paper records, making the hospital more environmentally friendly.
The implementation of EPR also addresses concerns about data security and patient privacy. The system employs robust security measures, such as encryption, access controls, and secure logins, to safeguard patient data from unauthorised access. Regular data backups and disaster recovery plans further ensure data continuity even in unforeseen circumstances, protecting patient information from loss or corruption.
The next phase of the project is to scan our old patient notes and make them available electronically. However, it will take us a considerable amount of time to transfer all the many decades of accumulated files into the system.
In line with Care Quality Commission recommendations, implementing the EMIS Web system is proving to be a gamechanger in revolutionising our patient care: by enhancing data management, improving efficiency and data security, reducing costs and optimising overall hospital operations, this has been a vital step for Mildmay in providing a high-quality healthcare service that is fit for the 21st century.
This article first appeared in Mildmay's Impact Report 2023