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Improving informatics

A tablet computer with patient data on it

We are expanding and strengthening our informatics team as a direct result of our work to spread a common electronic patient record (EPR) across north east London.

Over the next few months we will create a dozen new informatics roles and review others to better recruit and retain digital experts in an increasingly competitive field.

Extra investment worth up to £2.5m a year will also help strengthen the hard-pressed ICT service desk so they can meet the daily demand for technical support.  

We get this growth money under the agreement through which we are helping Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals Trust (BHRUT) introduce our version of the Oracle Millennium health records platform over the next two years.

The funding will support closer strategic alignment in our approach to informatics, although the two teams will remain operationally distinct. BHRUT is also paying separately for a dedicated programme team to implement the EPR, which will report direct to Sarah Jensen, our Chief Informatics Officer. 

As Homerton Healthcare also uses Millennium, the ultimate prize is that medics will be able to share patient information across all acute hospitals and GP surgeries within the north east London healthcare system.

The digital workstream within the North East London acute provider collaborative is well-advanced. Homerton and BHRUT have bought our network, we work together on implementing Patients Know Best, and we are moving towards sharing single imaging and pathology platforms.  

In order to migrate EPR data across to BHRUT, our team will pause any technical upgrades or enhancements to Millennium for about a year. This is what happened when Whipps Cross joined Millennium in 2012 and Newham in 2017.

Normal business will not be affected, so Barts Health staff will continue to be able to undertake routine tasks like changing clinic times, updating user accounts and adding new drugs to the meds catalogue.

Sarah Jensen said: “We won’t start the freeze until we have successfully completed the rollout of WeConnect in April, and all our own services are in Millennium. In practice most users won’t notice any difference until the integration with BHRUT is finished in June 2025.”

She added: “All the other clinical systems we use in our hospitals will continue to operate as usual.  Meanwhile we will be able to strengthen our informatics offer by attracting new talent, retaining key skills and restructuring the team to meet the requirements of our Barts Health customers”.  

Andrew Hines, director of group development, said: “The £2.5m is our share of the £44m business case approved for BHRUT, and the latest wave of our multi-year programme of investment into improving all aspects of informatics at Barts Health.”

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