Northern Ireland signs £275m deal with Epic

Epic Systems has been awarded a £275 million contract by Health and Social Care Northern Ireland to deliver its electronic patient record system.

The contract with Epic is part of an overall investment of £300m over the next 10 years, which includes investment in infrastructure and the creation of over 200 additional jobs within HSCNI.

The tender process, planning and business case process lasted four years, with the contract announcement being made public today.

The programme called ‘Encompass’ will provide the EPR to five trusts, replacing the systems currently in place and will deliver a regional integrated electronic health and care record solution across our acute and community services, said to “replace the myriad of ageing Health and Social Care systems currently in place, foremost being the Patient Administration Systems, that are approaching obsolescence.”

The South Eastern Trust will be the first Trust to ‘Go Live’, in 2022, following a regional design and configuration process involving staff, patients and carers from throughout the service.

All Trusts are anticipated to be using the Encompass solution by the end of 2024 across hospital, community and social care services.

Health Minister Robin Swann announced the landmark contract today: “Digital transformation will have a vital role in the rebuilding of health and social care in the wake of the first Covid-19 wave.”

“For example, virtual clinics will increasingly be embedded in the provision of care. That innovation has been fast tracked as a result of Coronavirus. It is here to stay. Further digital innovation will revolutionise services and Encompass is a major step in that direction.”

“We are calling time on the current situation of multiple, ageing digital systems and a large reliance on the paper record.  This investment will improve outcomes for our patients and service users by making it easier for our HSC professionals to deliver sustainable, high quality care, improved efficiencies and greater collaboration across all care settings.”

“It will be important that we work to understand the impact that our response to COVID-19 has had on our system, the transformations which have happened as a result of this, and how we incorporate this progress and learning into our Transformation journey moving forward.

“There will of course be challenges in planning such a major digital transformation in the face of ongoing uncertainty, but I am reassured that the encompass team and Epic will continue to be working hard in the background so that when we emerge from COVID, we are best placed to build on the experiences of frontline staff, patients and the public to deliver services that are more digitally transformed, virtualised and sustainable into the future.”

Last month we also announced a major deal for Epic Systems, with Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust signing a 15 year contact worth £181m.