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Flagship NHS project recognised on international stage

England’s most digitally advanced hospital trust is now ranked among America’s elite after becoming the first non-US healthcare organisation to pick up one of the country’s top tech accolades.

Cambridge University Hospitals (CUH) has been recognised for its advances in digital technology to provide high quality patient care via its eHospital digital programme, by the American Hospital Association (AHA), which represents about 5000 US hospitals and health care systems.

Earning the AHA’s Most Wired moniker is the latest in a string of honours for CUH’s digital overhaul which has already freed up more than 4500 clinical appointments, in one department alone.

Dr Afzal Chaudhry, Chief Medical Information Officer and Renal Consultant at CUH, said the recognition shows the trust is using technology to provide consistently high care to its patients.

He said: “A key part of the eHospital programme is the Epic electronic patient record system which is used concurrently by 3200 clinical staff, at peak times.

Epic brings together all clinical and administrative information about each of our patients, in one electronic system, recorded in real-time on mobile and handheld devices.

So when a patient arrives for an appointment, as an emergency, or is admitted, the team caring for that patient can see their medical record in its entirety, wherever and whenever they need to.”

Introduced in 2014 the system has reduced paper patient records by 99% and halved the time it takes to prepare discharge medications, freeing up much needed beds earlier.

The system has also cut 4,500 appointments in orthopaedics by allowing clinicians to view X-rays digitally and saves almost £1 million a year by reducing adverse reactions to prescriptions.

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The AHA accolade comes after CUH was named as the ‘best place to work in digital – large organisations’ during the 6 July  Digital Technology Leaders Awards, for private and public sectors.

Judges described the eHospital programme, implemented across both Addenbrooke’s and The Rosie hospitals, as “a beacon to the rest that shows what can and should be achieved by using digital technology”.

Two days earlier CUH was highly commended for its use of IT in improving patient safety in the national Patient Safety Awards.

Meanwhile, the government’s national advisory group report stated “CUH’s digital maturity was the highest of any of the trusts visited.”

Dr Jag Ahluwalia, Medical Director and Executive Lead for eHospital at CUH, said:

Winning awards is great but the most exciting thing about the eHospital programme is that there are still so many things it can do to improve patient care. We have only just scratched the surface.

Like any major change, our digital transformation has had its challenges, but CUH is now leading the way in terms of hospital tech and the advances made here are set to benefit the entire NHS.”      

Dr Zafar Chaudry, Chief Information Officer at CUH, added:

These accolades put us at the forefront of digital healthcare technology innovation on a global scale, and rank us among an elite group of global healthcare leaders that use real-time digital healthcare systems to significantly improve patient care, safety and provide high quality patient care.”