Learnings from FetaLink Implementation at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust

Implementation schedule

Project planning

From start to go-live ~ 18 months

Planning involved identification and communication with key stakeholders involved in the FetaLink implementation, which included:

  • Suppliers – Cerner, Philips
  • Imperial – Project Lead, Lead Obstetricians, Cerner Project Midwives, Change Lead, Infrastructure

‘Clinical champions’ were identified and tasked with spreading information about the project to gain buy-in from maternity staff.

Software configuration

~ 6 months

The project board worked with Cerner to adapt FetaLink to the specifications of ICHT. Adaptations included:

  • Annotations and drop-down lists
  • Foetal strip display
  • Alert parameters
  • Room locations
  • How patient details were displayed
  • Ensuring dates were in UK format

There was also some build work to do around the feed of data between PowerChart (another Cerner maternity application) and FetaLink.


~ 2 months

A significant amount of equipment needed to be procured and set up prior to go-live. Important considerations included:

  • CTG machines – Philips FM30
  • Server and network infrastructure
  • Computer and monitor set-up – trolleys or wall-mounted
  • Equipment connectivity – telemetry or wired

Cerner had specifications for what equipment could would work with their software, so that was also a part of the process.


~ 10 days

Testing the system was covered by the ICHT ICT project team using the build and test domain, which contained dummy pregnancy data and monitors.

All users were also trained on the test domain pre go live. This was planned to enable a final clinical quality assurance pre release.


Time to train all staff ~ 2 weeks

All clinical staff needed training on how to use the new system, as well as members of the steering group, ICT team and others who would be available to provide support at go-live. The different training sessions undertaken included:

  • ‘Train-the-trainer’ – led by Cerner for those involved in training clinical staff and providing support
  • Classroom-based training developed by the clinical training team for clinical staff
  • E-Learning based on the classroom training and used as a refresher


~ 2 weeks

Teams available to provide support at the go-live included:

  • Floorwalkers
  • Cerner technical team
  • ICHT project members including ICT Project Manager, Cerner Project Midwives, Change Lead

The ongoing long-term support structure also needed to be defined.


3 days at each site

The go-live was staggered, with Queen Charlotte’s going live about two weeks before St Mary’s. This meant the same key people could be present at both sites.

Both sites went live while the labour wards were running as usual, so it was important to take this into account in terms of time and resource management when planning the deployment.