CUH formally presented with Stage 6 of the international Electronic Medical Record Adoption Model

Healthcare Information Management Systems Society (HIMSS) has formally presented Cambridge University Hospitals (CUH) with Stage 6 of the international Electronic Medical Record Adoption Model (EMRAM) at an award ceremony held this morning during UK e-Health Week in London. CUH is the first Trust to receive EMRAM Stage 6 status for the effective use of technology in providing high quality patient care within a year of its new electronic patient record (EPR) going live.

HIMSS is an international organisation dedicated to improving healthcare quality, safety, cost-effectiveness and access, through the best use of IT. It developed an Electronic Medical Record Adoption Model (EMRAM) in 2005, which measures progress and the cumulative capabilities of Electronic Medical Record (EMR) systems within hospitals all over the world. Hospitals that reach Stage 6 (Stage 7 being the highest) have established clear goals for improving safety, minimising errors, and recognising the importance of healthcare IT.

HIMSS inspectors visited CUH in October 2015 to assess the use and adoption of its new Epic electronic patient record (EPR) system, which went live on 26 October 2014 across both of its hospitals - Addenbrooke’s and the Rosie. As part of the day-long assessment, inspectors spent time with clinical and administrative staff working in paediatrics, pharmacy, radiology, ICU, the emergency department and medical records, observing the delivery of high quality patient care with the use of a fully integrated EPR.

Dr Afzal Chaudhry, Chief Medical Information Officer at CUH, said: "Our new EPR system (part of our digital programme known as eHospital), has become an essential tool to assist our clinicians in providing better patient care. It enables them to view a patient’s medical record when and where they need to without having to wait for or write in paper records.

“The associated clinical, time and safety benefits associated with it are already being recognised. For example, many of our clinical and administrative processes are now paperless – we’re reduced the use of patient paper notes by 99% in inpatient area and by 97% in outpatients, our new virtual fracture clinic has freed up 4,500 physical clinic appointments as patient notes and x-rays can be viewed virtually, drug allergy alerts in the system are improving patient safety, and the time it takes to prepare discharge medications has reduced from 90 minutes to 45 minutes.

“We see the system as an integral part of our future and are committed to further development to ensure a relentless focus on continuing to improve patient care and safety.”

In order to reach EMRAM Stage 6, CUH demonstrated closed loop medication to auto identify the nurse, the patient and the medication; increased patient safety and medication error awareness; and many processes now being paperless due to the implementation of the system. Staff enthusiasm, particularly within paediatrics, was noted with many clinicians saying they could now not manage without it.

Dr Zafar Chaudry, Chief Information Officer at CUH, added: “This accolade puts us among an elite group of leading hospitals and medical centres in both the US and Europe that use EPR systems as a tool to help clinicians provide high quality patient care. To be the first Trust in the UK to receive this accolade within a year of go live, and only the third NHS trust to be awarded it, is a phenomenal achievement and a true testament of everyone’s hard work. We are leading the way in becoming the first fully digitalised Trust in the UK.”

CUH is one of only three NHS organisations that have achieved EMRAM stage 6 within the UK.

John Rayner, Director of Professional Development at HIMSS Europe, said: “The distance that the Trust has travelled in such a short period of time really stood out during the site visit. To be awarded a Stage 6 validation in less than 12 months of being live with the new system is quite commendable and a real credit to all concerned. We look forward to working with the trust in the future and will observe their progress with considerable interest.”