Collaboration drives EMR adoption across the UK

Adoption of international model encourages UK trusts to become among the best in the world at IT adoption

A partnership agreement has been signed between industry leaders to roll out an electronic patient record (EMR) adoption model that will speed up deployment of technology across the UK.

The beleaguered NHS National Programme for IT set out a vision for a single electronic patient record that could be read by health professionals wherever patients happened to be in the country. But largely this has failed and, while solutions have been rolled out in the majority of NHS trusts in the UK, on the most part they are restricted to the patient’s local area and cannot be accessed from other centres.

As the Chartered Institute for IT, we believe that through the expertise of our members and partnerships such as this one, we can help support and enable the NHS to deal with the challenges and changes that it is experiencing as it embraces information technology

But a memorandum of understanding announced this week will see BCS, the chartered institute for IT, and the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) collaborate to introduce HIMSS’s Analytics Electronic Medical Records Adoption Model (EMRAM) into the UK.

Created in the United States and now used worldwide, the model enables hospitals to measure their progress in the implementation of healthcare IT systems and benchmark this against the very best internationally.

Announcing the partnership at the Health Informatics Congress 2012 in London this week, Matthew Swindells, chairman of BCS Health, said: “We’re delighted to be working with HIMSS Analytics Europe on this project. We believe information and technology are crucial to the challenge of transforming our healthcare service. The HIMSS Analytics EMRAM model will enable hospitals to measure their progress in the implementation of health IT and benchmark themselves against the rest of the NHS and internationally. This is particularly important as the NHS moves from the top-down direction of NHS Connecting for Health to local decision-making. As the Chartered Institute for IT, we believe that through the expertise of our members and partnerships such as this one, we can help support and enable the NHS to deal with the challenges and changes that it is experiencing as it embraces information technology.”

Before officially launching the model, BCS will work with HIMSS Analytics Europe and other leading organisations to test its suitability for the UK and to assist with any modifications required. A number of hospitals, covering the acute and mental health sectors, are being recruited to assist. The partnership is also establishing a steering committee to ensure the smooth running of the project. It consists of key health informatics and healthcare professionals including Luke Readman, chief information officer at Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust; Peter Dyke from the Department of Health Informatics Directorate; Jon Lindberg from industry body, Intellect; Professor Iain Carpenter from the Royal College of Physicians; and Kathy Mason, representing the NHS Commissioning Board.

Readman said: “I am pleased to support BCS and HIMSS in their efforts to bring EMRAM into the UK. As the chief information officer for a hospital that has made great efforts to digitise healthcare over many years, I look forward to the opportunity to measure our progress against an external benchmark and am confident this will inspire us to try even harder to be one of the best in Europe.”

Globally, we find a significant correlation between stages of IT adoption and improvement in patient care metrics. Through this project we will bring new knowledge to the table in support of continuous patient care improvement in the UK

Stephen Lieber, president and chief executive of HIMSS, added: “The EMR Adoption Model and its underlying database provide healthcare organisations, governments, and other decisionmakers with critical information about the adoption and use of information technology. Globally, we find a significant correlation between stages of IT adoption and improvement in patient care metrics. Through this project we will bring new knowledge to the table in support of continuous patient care improvement in the UK.”

Currently, HIMSS Analytics collects data from hospitals and other healthcare delivery organisations across 25 countries worldwide. Under the EMRAM model, hospitals are graded in stages 0-7 according to the level of IT adoption. So far, 68 Stage 7 hospitals have been identified globally, boasting fully-digitised, virtually paperless environments with a broad range of interoperability and data exchange capabilities with other organisations. These are the flagship centres UK trusts will be aiming to match.

Swindells said: “If we are going to be able to take control locally then we need to stop looking to the Department of Health and we have got to start measuring ourselves against what the best in the world are doing.”

Companies