Addenbrooke's £200m online system fails in key areas

Addenbrooke's Hospital Image copyright PA
Image caption The new computer system was designed so that staff would not have to wait for printed patient records to arrive

Experts from the US are being drafted in to help ease problems with a new £200m online patient-record system in Cambridge hospitals.

Addenbrooke's and Rosie Hospitals transferred 2.1 million patient records on to an online system in October.

Staff could access and update records on hand-held devices and 7,000 computers, US designers Epic said.

The system failed in key areas so the Wisconsin firm sent in expert staff and doctors from California to help.

The hospitals admit GPs in the area have raised concerns but said the experts were helping staff understand the system.

Medical director Dr Jag Ahluwalia, from Cambridge University Hospitals, said an urgent meeting would be held next week to address "communication" issues.

These concerns range from patient reporting becoming too complex to the inability of computers on the system to communicate with other devices such as printers.

The director's report on in-patient operations said: "Clinical areas have raised concerns about the way the system works.

"Some of these issues have potential patient safety consequences."

At Addenbrooke's it led to ambulances having to be rerouted away from the accident and emergency department in early November.

Cambridgeshire Clinical Commissioning Group estimated that the department's performance had fallen by 20%.

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