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How Cerner has improved healthcare for our patients and staff

It has been six months since a new patient record system was implemented across the Trust.

Cerner was launched at the start of November to give clinicians the ability to access patient information, enter data and complete documents - among other things - at their fingertips.

The digital system has transformed the way we work and provide patient care, with vast benefits for colleagues, patients and their families as it provides an accurate and real-time view of each patient’s care.

We caught up with our chief operating officer Tina Benson to talk about how the software has impacted patients and changed the way the Trust operates since its launch half a year ago.

"We would be heralded as one of the most successful implementations [of Cerner] in the UK," admitted Tina. "The teams did such a great job of getting themselves trained, trying as best they could to understand how the new system was going to work and what sort of things they would they need to start or stop doing.

"It's a huge amount of of work for people and an enormous change but everybody has been wonderful at supporting each other to use the system and to get it right for our patients.

"We're doing a lot of work with maternity at the moment to make it easier for staff to use. They're doing a great job and using it to the best of their ability, but there are some tweaks we need to make in the system to make it easier for them, and that's something we'll need to do across the whole Trust now we're six months in and people understand the system much better.

"It's about how we can make it as easy as possible for staff to use but overall it was a really successful go-live. We had a high percentage - over 90% - of staff who were trained up which is really high in comparison to other go-lives that I've done and people really wanted to make it work.

"It's that attitude and teamwork that's made it such a successful go-live, despite a few little niggles."

We can really start seeing big benefits for our patients and our staff

One of the main advantages of Cerner is that it helps Trusts increase productivity and efficiency by allowing staff to focus more on a patient, rather than charting and documenting data. And Tina cited two examples of how the software has helped staff at Hillingdon Hospitals to provide high-quality healthcare to patients.

"What's really important is that it makes life easier for us staff and improves care for our patients," she added. "Those are the two fundamental things that we always want to do.

"In the second day of go live, a junior doctor was so excited because she had a lady who was pregnant - who'd had difficulties in pregnancy before - and rather than having to ring Queen Charlottes where she'd been before and wait on the phone for an hour and then maybe wait for someone to phone her back, she was able to see everything from her previous pregnancy, when she's had similar issues and was able to see what had helped her then and was able to help the lady immediately.

"So rather than patients' care probably taking half a day, she was able to deliver that care within an hour because she could see that complete patient record for that individual patient. That's a real benefit to our patients.

"There are other benefits too, like if we know a patient has had a blood test somewhere else, we won't need to repeat that blood test because we can see it where we couldn't see it before. So we can really start seeing big benefits for our patients and our staff and it's really important that we have that end to end pathway for our patients."

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