Electronic health records firm Epic Bristol bags £454m in UK deals as creaking care sector chases digital transformation

Software company wins over Northern Ireland and Manchester NHS trust

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Epic Bristol, a specialist healthcare software company, has won a brace of UK public sector contracts worth a total £454m.

In the first, the software company has been awarded a deal to support and develop an integrated electronic health and care record system across acute, community, social and primary care settings for Health and Social Care Northern Ireland (HSCNI).

Unusually for the UK, Northern Ireland has an integrated health and social care system. The aim of the contract is to provide a single health and social care record for every citizen in the region.

Under the terms of the deal, worth £273.4m, the supplier is expected to provide information systems and servers, software packages, developer skills, data services, consultancy and software support. The deal is for 10 years with an option to extend for another five.

Earlier this month, Northern Ireland health minister Robin Swann told the Northern Ireland Assembly that the health and social care system was in "very serious difficulties" even before COVID-19 arrived. Finding better ways of delivering services would require innovation, sustained investment and society-wide support, he said.

Encompass, the Northern Ireland programme to introduce the new system, will replace a patchwork of legacy systems and paperwork.

"Every citizen will have one health and social care record," said Gary Loughran, director of Encompass. "Doctors, nurses, and social workers can see social information, such as job loss or lack of transportation, which can be barriers to a patient's health. When a patient is discharged from hospital, information in the patient's chart can be used to make recommendations to social services or home care. We will be able to provide better care as a team to help our citizens stay well."

In another contract win, Epic Bristol secured a £181m deal with Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust. It is designed to provide electronic health records which will become the "operating system" for the trust, the contract award notice said. ®

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