NHS Trust seeks backing for electronic patient records

One of the 23 NHS Trusts selected as leading examples of digital health innovation is looking for backing to help implement an improved electronic health record system.

The Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust issued a contract notice last week looking for help to build on an existing patient record system.

The idea is to create a “single electronic view of an entire patient’s medical history at the point of care” which will provide “accurate, complete and up-to-date information to clinicians to support their decision making.”

At the same time, the Trust is also looking to implement an Electronic Content Management system to help compile “increasing volumes of data and information generated by staff, devices and systems.”

Both electronic solutions intend to lower the reliance of the Trust on paper correspondence, instead moving toward the ‘paperless’ vision set out in the NHS Five Year Forward View.

Although Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has remained optimistic over the suggested paperless NHS target of 2020, the same target has been scrutinised by many.

Chair of the National Advisory Group on Health Information Technology in England, Professor Robert Wachter, labelled the target unrealistic in a report published at the end of last year.

According to Wachter, a revised target of 2023 would allow the majority of NHS Trusts to exist in a digitised form.

Electronic patient records are a large part of this digitisation process, although the government’s previous attempt to establish one, the National Programme for Information Technology, spectacularly failed after nine years of operations and billions of pounds in investment.

The issue recently came to the public’s attention again in March, where a loss of more than 500,000 pieces of medical correspondence by the NHS raised the question of whether the same issue would have arisen with a digital system.

The newly commissioned contract will come into force on Christmas Day this year and could be extended for two further 12-month periods if the Trust chooses to.

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