Electronic patient records rollout cocks up hospital clinics

Yet another Cerner Millennium balls-up, at North Bristol trust


Electronic patient records system led to problems including wrong patient notes being supplied and incorrect clinic lists.

The rollout of the Cerner Millenium electronic patient records system has led to a series of clinical incidents at North Bristol NHS trust.

The trust began deploying Cerner in December 2011 as a replacement for two older patient records systems.

Between the launch of the system and 17 January 2012, 16 clinical incidents were reported as a direct result of the Cerner implementation, the trust revealed in a response to a freedom of information request made by a BBC journalist.

Cerner was cited as a causal factor in all the incidents, which included problems such as wrong patient notes, lack of notes and incorrect clinic lists, according to the trust.

However, clinical safety was not compromised by the incidents, it added.

The FoI request also asked for details on how many inpatient and outpatient appointments had been delayed by the Cerner implementation. The trust said 33 inpatient appointments were re-booked for non-clinical reasons in December post-Cerner, compared to 40 in November, before the new electronic patient records system went live.

It could not provide data on inpatient appointments in January, or outpatient appointments for both December and January.

In January, the trust highlighted that outpatient clinics were the area that had experienced most disruption as a result of the Cerner rollout.

"These problems have been caused by the incorrect set up of clinic lists, which meant staff could not access the system and errors in the data migration of existing appointments. As a result, some patients may have received the wrong appointment dates, no confirmation of appointment or letters being sent out in error," a post on the trust's website said at the time.

"These issues have caused disruption and frustration for our patients and our staff and we recognise that this has not delivered the level of service that we expect, and the public expect from us," a subsequent post added.

Earlier this month, the trust said it had rebuilt and relaunched the system to clear up the earlier problems its outpatient clinics had experienced.

Oxford hospitals NHS trust also confirmed recently that it was working on fixing issues with data quality and around its patient contact centre resulting from a roll out of Cerner.

This article was originally published at Guardian Government Computing.

Guardian Government Computing is a business division of Guardian Professional, and covers the latest news and analysis of public sector technology. For updates on public sector IT, join the Government Computing Network here.

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