Matt Connor is the chief information officer (CIO) for Liverpool Women's NHS Foundation Trust, and they were the first NHS organisation in the UK to go-live on MEDITECH Expanse. Matt joined our podcast and chatted with host Phil Sobol, vice president of business development at CereCore, and co-host Dan Eyre, vice president of business development for CereCore International.
The conversation covered things you might be wondering:
Below are some key points in the conversation:
Sobol: A lot of people are probably curious — what was it like working with CereCore International and having folks in the UK and US supporting the project? What were some benefits and challenges of working with an international company?
Connor: It was a new experience I think for us and CereCore as well. What I would like to say — the most important bit — is about relationships and partnership and building trust. We met at the MEDITECH user network conference in Liverpool last year.
And at that point, we were faced with a couple of challenges. One was resources and skillsets. It is a constrained market. We often pull on the same resources in the NHS.
What stood out for CereCore was you have got that skillset. You have got that knowledge base, and you understand the products. That was quite compelling for us.
We sat down and we had some discussions around where our challenges were. Predominantly, they were in two areas: One was around that requirement for specialist knowledge and support around the product, particularly with configuring our EPR to meet the NHS standards. We are a bit different in the NHS. There are things that are common, but of course, there are things that are very particular to how we work here.
The second thing was building a pace. We had quite a lot of challenges with the volume of work in our clinic builds, electronic prescribing, roles and configuration of access for staff. That is where we really benefited from working with CereCore.
In terms of the US and the UK team, I felt that we worked really well. What you had was a very approachable, very likable, very understanding UK team who understands our environment, but with a strong US subject matter expert in the teams of the products. And again, there was some of that also in the UK team, but I think that really helped us get to where we needed to be within the timescales we had.
Eyre: That is brilliant. I know it is relatively short after go-live, but have you had a chance to reflect on any key ingredients to your success? What lessons have you learned so far?
Connor: The first thing is having strong executive support has been key. Really strong operations support helps in terms of planning, cross over planning, and then managing the impact as you go live.
An extension of that is we have had an effective clinical digital team. We have had from trust wide CCIO, which is a Chief Clinical Information Officer and supported by divisional CCIOs or departmental CCIOs.
We have had a number of digital lead nurses, pharmacy leads to build the EPMA, and a really strong clinical network and around that has been the governance.
So, we have had design authority structures in place that has been essential to ensure that we get the system largely right. I'll say largely right because you can never be 100% right. Because you learn things as you go live, and your optimization and stabilization phases kick in. But, it has been absolutely key getting the majority of the build right.
In terms of the lessons and how we can be even better, we have had some issues around role-based access control, which is not totally unsurprising. Given that our system was 27 years old at the time of its removal, there was not even a concept of such a thing then.
As you can imagine, people implement workarounds, and things evolve organically. I think that does not always translate well into a structured role-based system.
The other thing I would say is training. It is really difficult because people have got a day job.
We have got a very pressured healthcare environment, and people are quite rightly focused on clinical service delivery. So, getting the training right, and making sure it is in the life of is probably an area we did not get quite right. That being said, what we did deliver was impressive. And again, that was based on the talent of the team that we had at our disposal.
Eyre: You have mentioned how big a change the EPR implementation is, but have you had a chance to see any of the benefits for the staff or the patients yet or is it still a little bit early in your journey?
Connor: It's probably a bit of both, isn't it? There are some early benefits, from a safety perspective. The strengthened electronic prescribing piece has been really well received. That is because we have had really strong pharmacy leadership. The benefits from a safety perspective are instant in terms of co-signing, drug dispensing, and prescribing.
We have more auditing capability around our ordering and results piece, and documentation is now more structured than it was in previous systems.
But let's be realistic. You get a lot more disbenefits in those sorts of very destructive first weeks, and probably months, in terms of new processes. It is a real shock for people. They are getting used to the system so that will take some time.
What we will expect to see are some really great ideas of how we can make it better. We have tried to manage the expectation as best we can. We have always said — this is day one. We are in week three now of our journey.
What we have got is the platform to be really great in terms of digital maturity, and positive impact for patient care for our clinicians, nurses, and midwives. But it will take some time to really drive the benefits through adoption. There has been a combination of both — we have got some disbenefits, but there are some early wins already.
Stream the full episode
Listen for more insights from CIO Matt Connor as he dives into how they accomplished their MEDITECH Expanse milestone and the value found in a partnership with CereCore International.
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