Using EMIS Health’s Unscheduled Care System to Eliminate Risk of Record Loss and Delay in Emergency Department

Rationale / Objectives

As one of the largest non-teaching trusts in U.K.’s National Health Service,County Durham and Darlington National Health Service (NHS) Foundation Trust (the Trust) is dedicated to enhancing quality of care in its two main hospitals: Darlington Memorial Hospital and University Hospital of North Durham. One of the problems facing the Trust was risk of lost records or delay in discharge time in Emergency Departments (ED). They decided to go paperless for ED and integrate care across two hospital sites.

Project/Program Description & Major Achievements

Between 2012 and 2013, the Trust invested heavily in EMIS Health’s unscheduled care system, Symphony, in their ED. The implementation resulted in:

  • significant printing cost savings
  • an enhanced working process of staff between different care settings
  • increased communication among healthcare staff

Lessons Learned

Medical staff were satisfied with Symphony’s introduction.. Thus, the Trust has moved forward to replace the outdated systems with EMIS Health’s unscheduled care systems across its care facilities.

Further Description

County Durham and Darlington National Health Service (NHS) Foundation Trust is among one of the largest non-teaching trusts in the UK’s NHS. The Trust serves approximately 600,000 people with more than 8,000 staff. County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust delivers acute hospital services from its two main sites: Darlington Memorial Hospital and University Hospital of North Durham 1. To maintain the high quality of patients care despite the increasing visits in Emergency Departments, between 2012 to 2013, the Trust invested £750,000 (approximately 1.1 billion USD) to implement EMIS Health’s unscheduled care system – Symphony, which was previously known as Ascribe’s Unscheduled Care. Symphony replaced two previously installed systems, which were outdated and required replacement. EMIS Health’s unscheduled care system enables hospital EDs and urgent care centers to share clinical data and integrate care delivery. Specifically, the system tracks County Durham & Darlingtons’ clinical records of patients from their first contact point until discharge from the Emergency Department. 1 2 4 The key features of Symphony are:

  • Friendly user interface
  • Up-to-date 4 hour waiting target data
  • Connection with systems from other hospitals
  • Automatic release letters of discharge to General Practitioners (GPs)
  • Provide accurate clinical audit reports, outcome measurement and real time patient management
  • Time saving for information search , as info is all in one system
  • Enhance communication across care settings 3


By integrating data through key clinical systems, staff at the Trust can benefit greatly from the system that helps them improve their working process and avoids delaying or loss in records. The NHS goal is to become paperless entirely by 2018, which can save billion of pounds annually. 1 2

Major Achievements

Roy Westhead, project manager of NHS, stated that: “We’ve dramatically reduced the amount of paper we’re producing, and storing.”



Additional Detail

Referral to treatment time To date, they have achieved 80.6% of patients meeting the 18-week wait standard, with a 90% target of 90% (since February 2014)   Quality Report from CareQuality Commission (2015)

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