Odense University Hospital
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February 22, 2022

Odense University Hospital implements new electronic health record system over the weekend

The operation went well when Odense University Hospital and seven other hospital units pressed the button to connect the new electronic health record system ‘EPJ SYD’.

There is inevitably an air of nervousness before a big operation takes place, and last weekend the ‘patients’ were none other than Funen’s largest workplace Odense University Hospital (OUH) and seven other hospital units, which were having the new electronic health record system EPJ SYD implanted.

EPJ SYD is based on Systematic’s Columna Clinical Information System (CIS), an electronic health record system that has been developed in collaboration with Danish healthcare professionals and adapted to working procedures at Danish hospitals. The system has been in use at all the hospitals in Central Denmark Region for more than 10 years.

OUH has many specialist areas, and therefore it is a highly complex procedure when such an important system is being commissioned. At the same time, seven psychiatry and hospice units on Funen were connected.

The excitement was palpable, but then the preparations had been extensive, which was emphasised by OUH’s Chief Medical Officer Bjarne Dahler-Eriksen in a newspaper interview with Fyens Stiftstidende, in which he said:


- Of course, we were fully prepared, and in spite of the situation with a lot of people off sick and COVID-19, our employees made a huge effort to ensure that we were ready to switch to the new system.

Used 2.8 million times a day

With 2.8 million posts being made in the electronic health record system on a normal working day, EPJ SYD is one of the most important tools for the region’s approx. 22,000 doctors, nurses and secretaries, and it is therefore imperative that the new system benefits both patients and staff, says Anja Lund, Chair of the Digitalisation and Innovation Committee at the Region of Southern Denmark. 

- Our staff should, to the greatest extent possible, focus their time on their core task, which is patient care. Therefore, it is important to have a user-friendly electronic patient record system so that they spend as little time as possible on IT. EPJ SYD is based on a well-functioning and thoroughly tested basic system, which was essential for the Region of Southern Denmark when we originally put our patient record system out for tender.

Effective collaboration resulted in delivery before time

To support the weekend’s go-live operation, more than 30 Systematic employees together with employees from the Region of Southern Denmark were in place to ensure effective data migration and a smooth transition from the old to the new system. It also meant that the entire operation was completed two hours faster than anticipated – and with a minimum of hiccups.

- Already by 21:00 on Saturday evening, all the data had been moved from the old to the new system, after which all the hospital units were technically up and running. At 07:00 on Sunday morning, the system was taken into use. In the coming days and weeks, we have extra employees on hand so that we can assist with any of the challenges that can occur when a complex organisation takes a new system into use. So far, we’re more than satisfied with the implementation, which is thanks to outstanding collaboration between hospital staff, the Region of Southern Denmark’s IT experts as well as our own people, says Anders Goul Nielsen, Group Senior Vice President at Systematic.

According to Chief Medical Officer Bjarne Dahler-Eriksen, the electronic health record system can be compared to the hospital’s backbone, and he was clearly relieved when the local TV station TV2 Fyn caught up with him shortly after the system went live:

“It’s actually going really well. It’s a new system, of course, so it’s always a question of getting to know it a bit, but everyone is happy and feeling confident, and we think it will all work out well,” he said.

Special 24-hour emergency preparedness

The first stage of the transition to the new system was implemented on 3 October 2021 when Sygehus Sønderjylland and several other hospital units made the switch from the old Cosmic system to the new EPJ SYD system. The roll-out went well, and Anja Lund was proved right in saying that the roll-out at OUH and the other hospitals would also happen without any major glitches:

- The implementation of EPJ SYD in southern Jutland was basically very successful considering how incredibly complicated it is to switch to such a big and extensive system. At the same time, the implementation team has gained invaluable experience, and I’m confident that the start-up on Funen will go just as well as it did in southern Jutland.

EPJ SYD will be rolled out in four phases, of which the first two are now complete.

On 29 May 2022, the last units will be connected to EPJ SYD, but Anders Goul Nielsen and his colleagues at Systematic are keeping a cool head and expecting yet another successful implementation. 

- We have considerable experience at implementing new and critical solutions at hospitals, but unforeseen problems can always arise, and therefore a special emergency team has been appointed which is on hand 24 hours a day immediately after the transfer to the new solution, he says.

EPJ SYD – facts

  • EPJ SYD is being implemented in all five of the Region of Southern Denmark’s hospital units: Odense University Hospital, Sygehus Lillebælt, Sydvestjysk Sygehus, Sygehus Sønderjylland and the psychiatry hospital.

  • EPJ SYD will be the primary IT tool for approx. 22,000 doctors, nurses, secretaries and other staff at the regional hospitals.

  • EPJ SYD’s core elements consist of health record processing, medication, requests to and responses from laboratory and imaging systems, patient administration and booking.

  • Typically, approx. 2.8 million posts are made in the electronic health record system on a normal working day.

  • OUH is responsible for running EPJ SYD for the entire Region of Southern Denmark.

  • EPJ SYD is based on Systematic’s electronic health record system Columna Clinical Information System (CIS); the system has been developed in collaboration with the Region of Southern Denmark, which has been using the solution since 2010.

  • In 2018, Systematic won the tender to design a new electronic health record system in the Region of Southern Denmark.

  • In 2019, North Denmark Region also decided to implement the system; North Denmark Region is due to implement the system on 30 March 2022.