A NEW scheme is being launched at Airedale Hospital which is set to transform clinicians' access to patient records.

Currently, data is stored using a combination of digital systems, alongside paper records.

But under the new set up – known as the electronic patient record, or EPR – everything will be held in a single, secure digital place.

Preparation work is now underway, with the system scheduled to go live in September next year.

Paul Rice, NHS chief digital and information officer across Bradford and Airedale, says: "A new electronic patient record is essential to enable staff and patients at Airedale Hospital to access the highest quality, safest and most sustainable services.

"Moving away from paper records provides a robust, reliable and secure method of ensuring that all patient details are in the right place at the right time, and accessible to the relevant healthcare professionals.

"This programme is about so much more than a digital version of written notes. It’s building digital tools to improve the ways we work in order to be more efficient and effective, connecting people and improving everyone’s experience well into the future. It is about creating the right digital foundations upon which we can deliver our broader ambitions as we move forward to plan and build our new hospital."

Airedale’s EPR is being provided by Oracle Cerner, the company which already supplies the system to Bradford Teaching Hospitals and Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Trust. Airedale is working in partnership with the trusts, to allow for more joined-up care across the district.

Launch events have given staff at Airedale Hospital the chance to see what the new system will look like, with demonstrations from specialist trainers.

Richard Rees-Jones, chief nursing information officer at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust, says: "I am a nurse by background and have worked at the trust for a number of years. Our new EPR will be different to anything we have worked with before, but I’m really looking forward to the positive implications this will have for everyone.

"People are often nervous about change, but I’ve had some really positive conversations with colleagues at the launch events to highlight the benefits of our new EPR, and there’s definitely a sense of excitement about the coming changes. We are still in the really early stages of the project but the work we’re doing now is key to successfully implementing EPR next autumn."