The United Kingdom is going through an exciting stage of digital transformation right now. The NHS has committed £2B of funding to support establishing electronic patient records (also referred to as electronic health records) in all NHS trusts. With major funding driving momentum behind these projects, the next few years will certainly be significant in reshaping the patient experience.
Charting the Future of EHR in the U.K.
Some of the goals outlined by the government include:
- 90% of NHS trusts with an EPR/EHR by December 2023
- 100% of NHS trusts with an EPR/EHR by March 2025
- Every ICS implemented a population health and planning data platform and business intelligence tools by 2023
- 80% of Care Quality Commission-registered providers to have digital social care records by March 2024
With one of the primary goals of the NHS digital transformation being focused on having a life-long joined up health and social care record, providers and patients can expect an uptick in continuing care, social care, and business analytics tools in use in the U.K. in the near future. Recognizing the gap between current social care providers having a digital care record (45%) and the stated NHS goal of 100% of ICSs having these tools in place by 2023, ICSs will be seeking ways to digitize their community healthcare record and join it up with the GP and hospital patient record.
The Challenges and Opportunities Ahead
In the past few years, there has been a tremendous amount of EPR/EHR growth and adoption in the U.K. with alignment between U.K. trusts’ needs and business objectives and Epic’s software. Apotti in Finland was a trailblazer when it came to partnering with Epic to develop continuing care and social care tools to support a diverse and dispersed population across their region. Components of that software have been localized to other countries and are in use, including in the U.K.. It will be interesting to observe how those tools may support additional trusts and the patients they serve over the coming years as the NHS seeks to improve digital maturity across the U.K. as part of the ICS initiatives.
While the gap between trusts that have an EPR/EHR in place (86%) and the upcoming goals (90% by December 2023 & 100% by March 2025) is slimmer than the current-state of social care digitization in the U.K., only 20% of NHS organizations are deemed to be digitally mature. As we’ve seen in the U.S. with Meaningful Use, regulation often drives significant change with digital healthcare tools and standards. It will be worth monitoring closely to see how digital standards are set in the coming months to drive minimum standards for EPRs/EHRs and accompanying technology needed to support the maturation of digital care.
Is your health system racing to keep up with the pace of digital transformation across the globe? Connect with the Medix Technology team for guidance on managing change, maintaining project timelines and achieving your goals.
David Fraser is Head of Implementation Planning at Medix Technology. After starting his career at Epic, he gained experience working with a variety of global health systems going to procurement or implementing an EHR, including work in the U.K., Nordic countries, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Vietnam and UAE.