Surrey/London – June 16, 2015 – The EDM Collaborative, as part of the Southern Acute Programme is working in collaboration with healthcare technology solutions provider Kainos Evolve and scanning service provider Hugh Symons to deliver significant improvements in patient care and lasting cost savings across five hospitals. Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust (FHFT) and Ashford and St. Peter’s Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (ASPH), serving a population of over 1,250,000, will benefit from the ten-year transformational project that will allow simultaneous and mobile access to patient records for over 10,200 staff.

The Trusts, which include St. Peter’s, Ashford, Heatherwood, Wexham Park and Frimley Park Hospitals, have been working as a collaborative to procure a solution to digitise their medical records and take a large step towards a fully electronic medical record. The business case was presented to the Department of Health, supported by the Health and Social Care Information Centre, as part of the Southern Acute Programme and the Trusts were awarded an overall figure of £10.6m to be spent over four years. This funding pays for the solution and contributes to the scanning costs. In addition, the Trusts are investing a similar figure to ensure the infrastructure and project resource costs are met.

Simon Marshall, Director of Finance and Information at ASPH, sees this as a great example of collaborative working, adding “the Trusts had similar goals at the outset with the EDM Collaborative focused on securing early clinical and executive buy-in. We’re now embarking on one of the largest and most ambitious digitisation projects ever undertaken in the NHS. Scanning 300m images will help to realise cumulative financial benefits of £29m over ten years and patient care will improve. Key to getting this project started was the support of the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) and funding from the Department of Health.”

At the moment, the hospitals use a mixed storage approach: there are central storage rooms as well as smaller facilities in several departments. All of this space will be designated for clinical use to further support frontline patient care and the transformation goals of the collaborative.

The procurement and funding process was led by Laura Ellis-Philip, Head of Informatics Programme at ASHP, who reflects on the process so far: “This has been an exciting project from the very beginning, partly because it is fantastic to work towards a common goal with like-minded Trusts, but also because of the level of commitment from everyone involved. There was a dynamic in the team that was catching, and meant that getting clinical staff from all groups to join us has been easier than on previous IT projects.

We were also fortunate in being supported by Apira Consulting. Director, Geoff Broome, has played a large part in helping us develop a business case and procurement specification that stood up to scrutiny from our own internal Trust Boards all the way up to Cabinet Office.

As part of the procurement selection process, clinicians from all the hospitals were involved, making sure the winning bidders were the best fit. Raouf Daoud, Breast Consultant at FHFT explains what prompted him to take part at this early stage in the project: “Mobile working for clinicians is a key part of the project to enhance patient care through real-time, bed-side access to records. By equipping more clinicians with mobile devices such as iPads, patient care will be brought into the modern age, with quicker diagnosis and higher treatment standards. I am keen to be a pioneer of this change to our ways of working.”

Another member of the team, Mike McSweeney, Associate Director of Informatics at FHFT, is delighted with the outcome of the supplier selection process: “This project represents the biggest change that our Trusts have ever been through – and the likes of which may never be seen again. We will transform paper-reliant processes into a modern, digital environment where patients get better care and more money is available for clinical services. We are pleased to be working with Kainos, and of course Hugh Symons, a scanning provider with an excellent track record of delivery. Both suppliers have worked together on previous implementations and have already started to demonstrate how their valuable experience can contribute to the project’s success.”

Andrew Morris, Chief Executive at FHFT, who also chairs the Southern Acute Programme Executive Steering Group, says the Trusts are now ready to turn their attention to the next phase: “We have had to go through many stages for this project – and although the implementation seems like the end of the path, it is just the beginning. This is such a fundamental change that it needs to become ingrained into our culture. This will be the next significant part of the project and path towards paperless goals.

Nigel Hutchinson, Head of Evolve, concludes: “The scale and scope of this project is a clear sign of how much the NHS is capable of when you have the right people working together in the right ways. For us, this is a significant step from working with individual Trusts up to now working with a multi-Trust collaborative. This is a sign of the confidence in the Evolve solution as well as the readiness for change in the health service.”