Addenbrooke's Hospital paperless system's 'significant problems' reported

Addenbrooke's Hospital Image copyright PA
Image caption The new computer system means staff will not have to wait for printed patient records to arrive

The first hospital in the UK to use a £200m electronic patient record system has experienced "significant problems" with it, a report has said.

The system at Addenbrooke's and Rosie hospitals, in Cambridge, allows staff to view records on handheld devices.

A report by the county's clinical commissioning group (CCG) found "a 20% drop in A&E performance from the date the new system was implemented".

The hospitals' trust said it was working to address the concerns.

Last month, Addenbrooke's Hospital became the first in the UK to use Epic's eHospital system, which is used by hospitals in the United States.

'Major incident'

At its launch more than 2.1m patient records from the past five years had been uploaded and could be accessed by 7,000 computers and devices at the hospitals.

But the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough CCG's report highlighted areas of concern, including issues in the emergency department.

On 1 November, the computer system "became unstable". A "major incident" was declared resulting in ambulances being rerouted to other hospitals for several hours.

It also found "difficulty matching test results to patients", meaning some had to be checked again.

However, the report said an audit carried out of care in A&E showed patients had been "appropriately assessed".

It also stated the benefits of the paperless system would be "delivered over time and were not expected to be evident in the weeks after system go-live"

Cambridge University Hospitals' chief information officer, Dr Afzal Chaudhry, said "well over 90% of implementation [had] proceeded successfully".

"Given the scope... we had anticipated that there would be problems... but those problems did occur early on," he said.

"We are very focused on making sure our patients are cared for safely and in a timely fashion. We have been working very closely with the CCG and with our primary care colleagues to make sure the system returns to a stable position and that we continue to iron out the remaining problems over the forthcoming period."

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