Government’s 2023 mandate for NHS England set target for 90 per cent of trusts to have an electronic patient records system in place by December 2023.

The NHS has met the government’s target for 90 per cent of trusts adopting electronic patient records (EPRs) in hospitals ahead of schedule. A total of 189 NHS trusts have now introduced new systems, with Hillingdon Hospitals and Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS trusts becoming the latest to go live.

The government set the target of December 2023 in the Plan for digital health and social care, published last year. NHS England is investing £1.9 billion to support hospital trusts to either adopt a new or improve their existing systems to ensure every hospital in England can benefit from digital transformation.

Speaking at the NHS Providers National Conference and Exhibition in Liverpool on Wednesday, NHS England’s Chief Executive Amanda Pritchard said: “Thanks to the teams at Sheffield Health and Social Care and Hillingdon Hospitals, who completed their go-lives over the last couple of weeks, you have now delivered on the target for 90 per cent of trusts to have this capability in place ahead of winter.

“Delivering that switch isn’t easy but it’s worth it because that’s the underpinning work that will enable us to benefit from new technologies.”

Last year NHS England spent over £400 million to support 150 NHS trusts, and a further £500 million will reach trusts by the end of this year. EPR systems enable organisations to drastically change the way they operate and are the foundation for the use of more advanced technology systems for patient care.

They boost productivity and experience for staff as well as improving the flow of information between services, making it easier to provide care. The most digitised trusts have also been shown to operate with approximately 10 per cent improved efficiency compared with less digitally mature providers.

EPR systems in hospitals combine patient notes, lab results, observations and digital prescribing. Alert features can also help clinicians quickly identify those at risk from conditions such as sepsis.

“Compassionate and safe care”

Health and Social Care Secretary Victoria Atkins said: “Electronic records give clinicians access to vital patient information when and where they need it, alerting them to immediate risks and giving them more time to care for their patients.

“I am pleased NHS England has met this important target ahead of schedule and look forward to working with the health service to ensure all NHS staff have the resources they need to deliver the modern healthcare our patients deserve.”

Dr Vin Diwakar, Interim National Director of Transformation at NHS England, said: “Digitalising the NHS is the best way of delivering a modern healthcare system that will help to improve patient care and save lives.

“I’m delighted that 90 per cent of NHS trusts now have electronic patient record systems up and running in hospitals, and we’re continuing to provide support to the remaining 10 per cent to get this vital technology in place.

“Electronic records will ensure health and care staff have access to patient information when and where it’s needed, supporting them to deliver care efficiently, effectively and safely.”

Raihan Talukdar, Chief Clinical Information Officer at Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are embracing digital transformation in healthcare at Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust. The launch of the first phase of our electronic patient record in October marked a significant step forward for us.

“Our overall aim is to put our service users at the heart of everything we do. A comprehensive electronic patient record helps us to give compassionate and safe care to the people we care for and support.”

The government’s 2023 mandate for NHS England sets a target for 90 per cent of NHS trusts to have an EPR system in place by December 2023 and 95 per cent by March 2025. The remaining hospitals are expected to go live the following year.