your hospitals, your health, our priority
Telephone: 01942 244 000

Welcome to the July edition of our WWL Blog

What Makes HIS So Special Martyn Smith

I am Martyn Smith, the Head of Production and Modernisation at WWL.

We replaced our EPR system on 28 June this year with the new Health information System (HIS). Although it was a very special day, I have quietly shed a tear for the loss of the previous EPR. When we introduced it back in 2007 it was the Trust’s 2nd EPR system to WWL and it’s lived for nine years and served us well. The previous one to that, a distant memory now, we implemented in 2003 which was one of the few of its type in the NHS.

Since then we've had the vision and desire to introduce electronic prescribing, clinical documentation, Radiology exam ordering, diagnostic resulting and decision support and more, through a single system.  We recognised the benefits of a new EPR for our staff and patients and committed to the substantial investment that was required to make it a reality.

Our real journey towards achieving those ambitions started at the back end of 2012 when we invited the top Health Information System (HIS) suppliers from around the world showcase their products at WWL.  That was followed by a long and complex "EU" procurement process. Ten teams of clinicians, operational and information technology staff helped to evaluate suppliers and their systems and ultimately we chose the Allscripts HIS System.

Following that decision it took nearly six months to agree contracts—Americans are notoriously diligent when it comes to legals! Finally, in September of 2014 contracts were signed and exchanged. This coincided with a visit to the Trust from Lord Philip Hunt, and we were extremely proud that he agreed to be involved in the event.

Twenty months have passed since we signed contracts, 20 months in which teams of WWL staff have been trained in how to build and manage what is an enormously complex and powerful system.

I've personally attended more than five weeks of training, some of which involved a trip to Allscripts in Atlanta for me and two others (paid for by Allscripts, I must add). There we were trained for 10 days on how to develop Medical Logic Modules—pieces of computer code that can help the system to provide decision support to clinicians. Simply put, our clever HIS system is able to analyse data it is fed about patients and alert clinicians involved in their care. It can, for example, examine clinical information of a patient and pick up early signs of sepsis helping clinicians to quickly start treatment. The power of these MLMs is one of the things that really makes our HIS one of the best, if not the best, in the world.

Our teams have worked tirelessly for the past year getting the system ready, running workshops, implementing vast arrays of complex hardware, creating digital versions of clinical documents, building our drug formulary, linking our systems together to share patient data, testing and testing and testing some more. There were plenty of times we were worried we wouldn’t make it on time but we did!

Within minutes of HIS Go Live on the 28 June 2016, the very first nursing admission assessment had been completed for a day case patient on Ward 2 in Leigh. Since then over 20,000 more clinical documents have been completed, and a similar number of prescriptions have been raised and diagnostic ordered and fulfilled. That’s an incredible uptake of the system in such a small space of time and a huge credit to all our staff in embracing the change so quickly.

The first few days of go live were not without challenges. Close to 1,000 problems were logged, but everyone involved has shown  patience and understanding  whilst we worked through them and stabilised things. 

We couldn’t have got through without the enormous effort from our floor walkers (mostly volunteers), HIS Experts, Superusers and Allscripts for providing on the ground support 24x7. I’m just finishing my fourth night shift on support in the HIS Hub as I type this and it’s great to see further reduction in the number of issues being experienced overnight from the previous one.

It’s been a monumental effort to get here, but here we are and I’m very proud of the achievements we have all made personally and as a HIS team and an organisation.

This is only the beginning. The months and years to come will be just as exciting as we add more and more functions such as patient flow, pathways, observations, full A&E, full theatres and more. And for our patients, this translates to safer, faster and more effective care.

Viva la HIS, the HIS is here.



Katha 20 July 2016

HIS is here! Congratulations to the whole team and the entire Trust!


This comment section is moderated in the interests of a civil, relevant and productive brainstorm. Divergence, disagreement and passion are welcome. We'll try to exclude flaming or spam and reserve the right to edit or delete anything we consider offensive, actionable or inappropriate to the subject.