Blood test results from patients at Royal Papworth Hospital can now be sent electronically from the laboratory at Cambridge University Hospitals (CUH) and back, via a new link between the Lorenzo and Epic electronic patient record (EPR) systems used at the two trusts.
The integration, which was performed ahead of the hospital’s move to its new facility at the Cambridge Biomedical Campus, marks the “first-of-type” in the UK between these two EPRs.
Andrew Raynes, Royal Papworth director of digital and chief information officer, said: “We needed to integrate five systems, and the major challenge was the interface between the patient record systems Epic and Lorenzo, but with the help of CUH we collaboratively achieved a bi-directional interface in just seven months.’’
Papworth worked with IT services firm DXC Technology, to deliver interoperability with its Lorenzo system and CUH’s EPR.
WHY IT MATTERS
The integration has enabled the hospitals to dramatically improve their turnaround times by reducing the amount of administration required to process blood tests.
In the past, staff had to print out a blood test request, marry it up with the blood bottle and send it over to the laboratory where it would be transcribed into the Epic EPR. It would then be emailed back as a PDF, which needed to be opened, renamed and saved by administration staff. Numerical data would have to be transcribed from the PDFs by qualified lab staff to the system.
“It was an extremely laborious process. With the EPR integration, all of that work has now gone away,” said Raynes.
THE LARGER TREND
Interoperability is one of the guiding principles of health and social care secretary, Matt Hancock’s technology strategy. ‘The future of healthcare’ policy paper, published in October 2018, states that “open standards, secure identity and interoperability are critical to the safe and successful use of technology use in healthcare, ensuring that systems talk to each other and that the right data gets to the right place at the right time.”
Papworth and CUH are now exploring read and write interoperability on a host of systems within their area supporting the developing local health care record.
ON THE RECORD
“Being able to share results in a digital way will support our clinical colleagues in providing more effective and quicker care for our shared patients, which can improve patient outcomes,” said Dr Afzal Chaudhry, renal consultant and chief clinical information officer at CUH. “This is a natural extension of our hospitals’ partnership and another key achievement in providing joined-up healthcare between a patient’s care settings using digital technology.”