Sir, we were pleased to see the recent paper 'Going electronic, an Epic move', by Virdee et al.,1 on the move towards using Epic as a fully integrated electronic paper records system in a specialist dental teaching hospital within UCLH.
Over recent years, the Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust has formed from previous NHS Trusts, District General Hospitals and Community Services, to now be the largest NHS Trust, with around 38,000 NHS and academic employees and students working in ten hospitals and community Local Care Organisations. There are over 1,000 individual IT systems and several million patient records (either paper, digital or hybrid) within the Trust. This arrangement presents considerable logistical and efficiency challenges and contributes to patient safety risks. Therefore, with an ambition of being a single, digitally enabled hospital, MFT NHS Trust embarked on a process of transformation towards a fully integrated, digital healthcare system. We have called this process 'Hive', to reflect both Manchester's long adoption of the worker bee symbol and the unity created by integrating our systems and processes.
MFT NHS Trust chose Epic to power our Hive transformation, as it offers a proven record of delivering the level of integration and transformation required. In addition, as Epic is already relied upon in a number of NHS Trusts and working towards implementation in several others, there are clear opportunities to benefit from collaboration with an increasing group of large NHS organisations.
MFT NHS Trust chose from the outset to include Wisdom within our Epic implementation and have supported development of this module to be entirely suitable for use within an NHS specialist dental hospital environment. Indeed, UCLH have also recently added Wisdom to its own Epic installation as have Guy's and St Thomas's Trust and Health and Social Care Northern Ireland, who are both currently working towards their own go-live date, anticipated in 2023.
Our University Dental Hospital of Manchester, within MFT NHS Trust, is at an advantage as several years ago, we transitioned almost all our clinical records into the SALUD Dental Hospital EPR system, so our staff and students are familiar with the concept of working in a digital system. However, we are now aware of the considerable benefits offered by Epic as a true fully integrated electronic health record. Hive will deliver the service efficiency and patient safety improvements that we require, but also remove so many of the inefficiencies and personal frustrations that exist when trying to work within a much larger healthcare organisation. In addition, Hive has ensured dental services at MFT NHS Trust are fully integrated within all its other healthcare services.
Virdee J, Thakrar I, Shah R, Koshal S. Going electronic: an Epic move. Br Dent J 2022; 233: 55-58.
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Ashley, M., Needham, R. Manchester is Epic too. Br Dent J 233, 441–442 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41415-022-5044-6