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The British are Coming!

From the drama and grandeur of Downton Abbey, to the obsession with the Duchess of Cambridge (aka Kate Middleton), to the fantastic London 2012 Olympic Games, the US has great affinity and affection for all things British. 

And that feeling is reciprocal when it comes to healthcare.  Yes, I’ll admit, there’s the odd little difference in the way healthcare is structured, provided and paid for, but England’s National Health Service (NHS) often looks across the Atlantic when looking for solutions to the very similar challenges they face in providing 21st Century healthcare:  

Pressures on healthcare funding in a predominantly state-funded delivery system … consolidation of the management of healthcare delivery across the continuum of care for improved disease management … the ongoing drive to embrace and systematize evidence based care to improve outcomes …  and the ever present and ongoing need  for clinical analytics to aid clinical and operational decision making. 

Sound familiar? Yes, we have much in common with the Brits but here are some things you may not know about the NHS. 

All secondary care doctors working in the NHS are actually employees of the hospital they work within.  That means that much of their outpatient (ambulatory) work takes place in clinic settings owned by and typically situated within the hospital.  The often very extensive case notes (charts)  are longitudinal not encounter- or episodic-based, and incorporate all. The patient also has only one set of records no matter how many specialists they might see at the facility, so doctors are accustomed to having access to a full history.  When a patient is discharged from an inpatient (acute) visit, they are discharged with a 10-14 day supply of medication from the hospital pharmacy, not a prescription they have to take to an outside pharmacy.

All these differences create challenges for American health IT companies as we look to adapt to the unique workflows, structures and practices of healthcare in the United Kingdom.  Fortunately, Allscripts solutions and our people are extremely flexible, enabling us to be successful over and over again.  Allscripts has long experience with Sunrise in global markets.  Canada, Italy (yes, we have a customer in Palermo, Sicily), Singapore, Malaysia, Australia and now the United Kingdom all have major Sunrise installations.

In the past two successive quarters we have added leading UK NHS hospitals to the Allscripts family with multi-year contracts to deploy Sunrise Clinical Manager and Allscripts Patient Flow.  I’ve had the privilige of working with the leadership at both Salford Royal NHS Trust in the Greater Manchester area, and Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital NHS Trust – and they are world-class healthcare organizations that will make great use of the Allscripts technologies we are providing them. 

Situated just 26 miles apart in the North West of England, the hospitals are home to two of the greatest football (er, soccer) teams in the world, Liverpool FC and the mighty Manchester United.  And, more to the point, they have wonderful clinical and IT staff who are excited to be working with us.

Working with us again in the case of Salford Royal … but, that’s a story for another time.

Right now, it’s time for those of us at Allscripts to embrace Cool Britannia!  Even if that does mean having to learn what a TTO is, add a few vowels, and come to love an altogether different kind of football.

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