BMJ open 2018 03 088(3) e019790 doi 10.1136/bmjopen-2017-019790
The electronic health record (EHR) is underused in the hospital setting. The aim of this service evaluation study was to respond to National Health Service (NHS) Digital’s ambition for a paperless NHS by capturing routinely collected cardiac outpatient data in the EHR to populate summary patient reports and provide a resource for audit and research.
A PowerForm template was developed within the Cerner EHR, for real-time entry of routine clinical data by clinicians attending a cardiac outpatient clinic. Data captured within the PowerForm automatically populated a SmartTemplate to generate a view-only report that was immediately available for the patient and for electronic transmission to the referring general practitioner (GP).
During the first 8 months, the PowerForm template was used in 61% (360/594) of consecutive outpatient referrals increasing from 42% to 77% during the course of the study. Structured patient reports were available for immediate sharing with the referring GP using Cerner Health Information Exchange technology while electronic transmission was successfully developed in a substudy of 64 cases, with direct delivery by the NHS Data Transfer Service in 29 cases and NHS mail in the remainder. In feedback, the report’s immediate availability was considered very or extremely important by >80% of the patients and GPs who were surveyed. Both groups reported preference of the patient report to the conventional typed letter. Deidentified template data for all 360 patients were successfully captured within the Trust system, confirming availability of these routinely collected outpatient data for audit and research.
Electronic template development tailored to the requirements of a specialist outpatient clinic facilitates capture of routinely collected data within the Cerner EHR. These data can be made available for audit and research. They can also be used to enhance communication by populating structured reports for immediate delivery to patients and GPs.