East and North Herts NHS Trust launches electronic patient records system after global cyber attack delay

PUBLISHED: 07:00 14 September 2017

Lister Hospital in Stevenage. Picture: Danny Loo

Lister Hospital in Stevenage. Picture: Danny Loo

Danny Loo Photography 2017

An electronic patient record computer system has been rolled out by the NHS trust which runs Stevenage’s Lister Hospital, two months later than planned due to a global cyber attack back in May.

North and East Herts NHS Trust chief executive Nick Carver. Picture: North and East Herts NHS TrustNorth and East Herts NHS Trust chief executive Nick Carver. Picture: North and East Herts NHS Trust

The new system – called Lorenzo – will allow the East and North Herts NHS Trust’s staff to have improved access to information about their patients in real-time, to help clinical decisions to be made more quickly. The NHS trust says it will also make it easier to record information relating to patients.

Lorenzo had originally been set to go live from July 1, but a global cyber attack on May 12 forced its implementation to be delayed until Friday.

The cyber attack involved a virus – a form of malware – to be introduced into IT systems at NHS trusts, businesses and other organisations in the UK and globally, which froze computer screens and displayed a message saying they could not be re-set until a ransom was paid.

The Lister Hospital’s trust declared a major incident, with a complete loss of IT systems and some telephony systems.

Ahead of Lorenzo finally being launched, staff have had weeks of training, but the NHS trust said they will still be getting used to using the new system while caring for their patients.

Before the three-day roll-out, the NHS trust’s chief executive, Nick Carver, said: “Introducing a new computerised system brings many challenges, which is why we have been planning for this roll-out for a long time. The plans that we are putting in place have been designed to minimise disruption in the launch of a system that has been tried and tested in other NHS hospitals across the country already.

“While it may take our staff a while to get familiar with using Lorenzo in patient settings, we are hoping that any delays experienced by our patients will be kept to a minimum.”

In addition to Lorenzo, Lister Hospital’s trust has also launched a new electronic patient observations system called Nervecentre in many parts of its hospitals.

The new system allows clinical staff to enter observations about their patients, such as blood pressure and temperature readings.

Not only does Nervecentre do away with traditional handwritten charts, it also supports the automatic escalation of patients who are at risk of deteriorating and need urgent review.

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