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Is your EPR delivering what you need it to?

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Whether you have adopted a “big bang” or a phased approach to electronic patient record (EPR) deployment, the challenges don’t stop after go-live. Implementing an EPR is complex and requires clinicians, digital teams, managers and vendors to work collaboratively to update their ways of working and to continually look for ways to make better use of the system.

It is widely known that high EPR adoption can facilitate improvements in patient safety and that patients who experience a fully adopted EPR have better outcomes.[1] Having a functionally rich and data-rich EPR is also central to the Digital Health and Social Care Plan[2].

My time working with Altera Digital Health has illuminated this common challenge, and I am pleased that, for our part, we built our platform of solutions to support healthcare workers through every step of their journeys. Let’s explore more about EPR optimisation and why it is important for healthcare organisations.

A digital transformation mindset

When organisations implement an EPR system, they often have organisational digital transformation as their key ambition for the significant investment that has been made. However, it is all too common that they find themselves stuck in the implementation phase. This is for both “big bang” and incrementally phased approaches.

This is often due to human and financial resource constraints. The pressure on health systems across the globe is not only felt by patients, clinicians and senior healthcare leaders, but also by EPR teams.

Often during periods of instability and high demand, IT departments and EPR teams are forced to deliver “quick fixes.” Whilst this is understandable, these tactical “enhancements” tend to become permanent, making long-term transformation challenging.

With such importance, EPR deployments are often a challenge for already stretched EPR teams facing other competing priorities while also potentially lacking the time, skills and experience to get the most from the system.

Maximising the investment

To get the most from the EPR investment and to truly drive the original digital transformation strategy, clinical optimisation is and should be a continuous activity of all successful EPR programmes.

Having the opportunity to reflect honestly on the areas of the EPR that work well and those that work less well is very important and at times cathartic for all involved.

From my experiences working with the NHS and other organisations globally, I have seen how EPR teams frequently delegate responsibility for defining clinical workflow and requirements to clinical steering groups, forgetting that often, the EPR team that has the broadest knowledge of how the solution can best be leveraged to optimise the experience of clinicians and ultimately the patients that they serve.

This can be further enhanced by the EPR vendor who should be eager to share experience and learning from all of their other clients who are on similar journeys to digital maturity.


For any EPR programme to achieve its objectives the client/vendor relationship must be collaborative and productive rather than simply transactional. A symbiotic relationship if you like.

All my experience in digital health has told me that interaction and relationship that the EPR team has with the clinicians of all flavours must be based on trust. We’ve seen this with our clients at Altera where high clinician engagement has ultimately helped them embed the EPR across their trusts much quicker than others.

When there is a high level of trust, the EPR team tends to be allowed to fail. Not everything we do will be successful initially, but the ability to recognise this quickly and take remedial action is a strong factor in building trust. At Altera specifically, we partner with clients for the future, yet we focus on daily achievements to bring better healthcare within reach.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, it is essential to be able to use data to prove success or otherwise. Does the data from the EPR tell us that we’ve achieved benefits or improvements that we originally set out to?

Optimising EPR investments is a journey and it is essential to have the right IT partner to provide the tools you need to drive a higher-level healthcare experience.


Email us at to learn more how an Altera Clinical Optimisation Assessment could help you boost the functionality of your EPR without putting a strain on your internal resources and support you to deliver long-lasting change.



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