NHS digital standard bearer Birmingham mental health trust seeks partners for paperless vision

Trust issues contract notice for electronic health record project

The NHS Five Year Forward View envisions a paperless health service by 2020

One of the trusts picked by the NHS among its 23 standard-bearers for digital health is looking for bids from suppliers who can help make the vision of a paperless health service a reality.

The Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust has issued a contract notice seeking suppliers that can help it deliver on the implementation of an electronic patient records system and the management thereof.

Such a system would allow patients to access and interact with their records digitally, and also offer the ability for them to opt out of their data being shared electronically.

“This will require development of a single ‘source of truth’ where all of an individual’s data is held,” the contract notice said. “This single, electronic view of an entire patient’s medical history at the point of care will provide accurate, complete and up-to-date information to clinicians to support their decision making, thereby increasing clinical safety and effectiveness.”

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The trust is also looking to bring a system of electronic content management, which is required “due to the increasing volumes of data and information generated by staff, devices and systems”, the notice said.

“The approach will coordinate knowledge, correspondence, content and resources to support and drive key business decisions, as well as reducing our reliance on paper and our running costs,” it added.

The trust said that it is looking to implement a “master data management model based on a source of truth”. The planned system will see disparate information currently held by the organisation brought together in an “integrated infrastructure” that is easier to use and maintain than its incumbent model.

The notice said: “The authority has identified that it will need a blended approach, as it has not found a single system on its own that will address all the challenges associated with compliance, turnaround, information access, and outdated legacy systems that may be contributing to rather than alleviating increasing costs and process inefficiency.”

Potential suppliers are being sought via the circa-£500m Clinical IT Solutions framework, which was awarded to 50 hardware and software companies last year. The notice went out on Monday, with today marking the deadline for requests to participate. 

Once the contract is awarded, it will come into effect on Christmas Day. Following delivery of the project, the trust has the option to retain the services of the successful supplier – or suppliers – for two additional 12-month periods.

The trust explained that the goals of this project are in line with the those of NHS Five Year Forward View, a plan first published in October 2014 in which the health service laid out its vision of becoming paperless by 2020.

Birmingham and Solihull is one seven mental-health trusts picked by the NHS to be part of its global digital exemplar programme. The scheme, which also features 16 acute-care trusts, is designed to drive the creation and uptake of digital health services. Each participating trust has agreed to match NHS funding of £5m.

Sam Trendall

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