Oxford-based CSW Health has been awarded a contract by NHS Wales to develop a Technical Proof of Concept (TPoC) for the Integrated Electronic Health Record – ‘Single Record’ – for the NHS in Wales.

The TPoC work represents a first stage in implementing the Welsh NHS IT strategy, Informing Healthcare and will inform the development of a full business case for the Single Record project and subsequent procurement.

Unlike the NHS in England, NHS Wales has decided to carry out the TPoC work as a technical feasibility study on developing a Single Record before going out to procurement. Under the National Programme for IT (NPfIT) in England proof of solution work only began once the procurement was well advanced.

At the centre of ‘Informing Healthcare’ strategy is the vision of a Single Record – a secure electronic health record (HER), which provides health professionals with access to the necessary elements of a patient’s record where and when it is needed across the whole patient journey.

During the TPoC work, due to be delivered by April 2004, CSW will use its Case Notes EHR product to link with existing legacy systems in primary care, secondary care, community care and social care, drawn from two health communities: Carmarthenshire and North West Wales.

A version of CSW’s Case Notes products is also being used within the English NHS Care Records Service, the contract for which was awarded to BT in December 2003.

John Chelsom, managing director of CSW Group, told E-Health Insider that development work had already begun in December. "Informing Healthcare has five strands to it of which the Single Record is one, and the TPOC work is the first step."

He added that Wales was taking its own distinct route to developing electronic records; "They are quite clear that it is a Welsh initiative and not just an add-on for what is happening in England."

The TPoC project is intended to provide the evidence needed to inform the business case for the ‘Single Record’ in Wales. NHS Wales will then build on the work with the aim of issuing a formal procurement of Single Record functionality leading to a roll-out across Wales.

Bob Grindrod, Informing Healthcare Programme Director, said: "We are delighted that CSW is working with us to test and prove technical concepts which we consider pivotal to the successful delivery of the Single Record in Wales. This will provide us with a solid and evidence-based foundation for implementation of clinical applications in Wales."

Chelsom said: "We welcome this opportunity to contribute our expertise and Case Notes product at this early stage of the journey towards the Single Record in Wales. We look forward to working in partnership to deliver a successful Proof of Concept."