Background: Our aim was to explore the approaches to and the challenges and benefits of implementing Electronic Patient Record systems (EPRs) into NHS acute, mental health and community care hospitals throughout England.
Methods: A mixed methods approach was adopted that comprised an online survey (n = 59) and semi-structured telephone interviews (n = 8) with chief information officers (or heads of EPR projects) at NHS trusts throughout England. Survey analysis was descriptive, whilst the qualitative interviews were analysed thematically.
Results: A range of devices and approaches to implementing EPRs were described with 32 % of survey respondents utilising a best of breed approach. Interviewees' perceived and expected benefits of implementing an EPR included efficiency, availability and accessibility of clinical information, and patient safety. Key challenges to EPR implementation were securing clinician involvement, difficulties posed by government and national policy and limited availability of financial and human resources.
Conclusions: There was no single approach regarding the approaches taken to implementing EPRs among participating English NHS trusts, with various benefits and challenges cited. Policymakers and researchers need to provide clearer guidance for trusts at various stages of implementation ensuring intelligence is shared across England's NHS trusts.