Royal Free London launches new electronic patient record

16 November 2018

Patients at the Royal Free London will benefit from a new electronic patient record (EPR) system.

EPR will completely replace paper records at the Royal Free London by the end of 2019. It means that staff can always access the accurate and up-to-date information they need to ensure the best care for patients.

The new system is now live at Barnet Hospital, Chase Farm Hospital, Edgware Community Hospital, Finchley Memorial Hospital and the maternity department at the Royal Free Hospital. It will be rolled out across the rest of the Royal Free Hospital in 2019.

With all healthcare information in one place, staff can access all the details of a patient’s care more quickly. Mislaid files or test results are destined to become a thing of the past. There will no longer be paper records at the patient’s bedside. Instead, there will be computers or laptops to input information directly.

The EPR will enhance patient care by prompting clinicians to the best treatments for each patient, based on the latest clinical evidence. It will also enable patients to view their own hospital records, test results and upcoming appointments through a secure online patient portal.

The launch of EPR is a significant change and staff have been preparing for the switch over with testing, training and practice sessions. During the launch (17-19 November) and in the days after, staff will be getting used to the new system and patient appointments could take a little longer than usual. We will be communicating with our patients to keep them updated and apologise for any delays.

Sir David Sloman, Royal Free London group chief executive, said: “EPR means that our staff can always access the information they need, when and where they need it, so our patients get the best possible care. It is an exciting innovation, heralding the end of paper records over the next 12 months and making sure our patients get the same high standards of care across all of our hospitals. It is an important milestone on our journey to become the most digitally advanced trust in the NHS by 2020.”

Electronic records are safer and more secure than paper records. Staff need a smartcard and a pin to access the EPR and can only see the parts of the records they need in order to do their jobs.

The EPR has been co-designed by staff to ensure it meets their needs and those of their patients. The work has been led by a team including doctors, nurses, midwives, allied health professionals and pharmacists, as well as IT experts. Over 400 Royal Free London staff were involved in designing the EPR and hundreds more have been testing it.