Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Trust has just implemented an electronic patient record system from local company Strand Technology.

The CareNotes system also features instant messaging between users, automatic generation of e-mails, faxes and text messages to clients, other staff members and patients themselves, and a web-based interface. This would allow, for instance, notification of a patient’s change of address to be e-mailed to a community staff nurse, or appointment reminders to be sent to patients by text.

Graham Phillips, managing director of Strand Technology, said: “The CareNotes solution is the key to the future in mental health care. A member of a specialist team can see a patient in hospital or at their own home and have direct access, if they are authorised, to the patient’s records."

“More importantly, they also have access to services within hospitals; so, on a home visit, can arrange a referral and confirm the time with the patient."

David Hannam, sales director at Strand Technology, told E-Health Insider: “What we have tried to do is to try to make CareNotes a proactive member of the care team; we have tried to take a very different approach."

Hannam said that Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Trust put its IT infrastructure out to tender after it was formed out of four discrete mental health trusts in the area: “When it was formed it didn’t have any IT solutions itself so it really was starting from scratch."

Cheshire and Wirral Partnership decided to separately tender for a mental health care records system. "One of the reasons that they did that was, at the time the NPfIT wasn’t in a position to offer any kind of solution. Moving on from that to where we are now, the trust has made a decision that they now realise that specialist mental health functionality is not going to be provided from the NPfIT for a long time.

“As far as Strand Technology is concerned the NPfIT is an excellent idea and has long been overdue. We try to work in a complementary way to the national programme and monitor everything they are doing."

'PC Pod'Training sessions have been taking place in ‘PC Pods’ (right), in an articulated lorry that has been visiting sites in the region. Hannam said he was confident the system was easy to learn.

Hannam told EHI that, because of this, he was confident that CareNotes would link into the electronic patient record infrastructure being provided by the NPfIT, and said that CareNotes was also flexible enough to fit in with whatever electronic patient record system Wirral Hospital NHS Trust implements apart from NPfIT.

The CareNotes system is also in place in fifteen other mental health trusts across the UK, including Norfolk Mental Health NHS Trust, and South London and Maudsley NHS Trust, where advance patient journey functionality is also being piloted. The agreement with Wirral lasts for five years and covers 2,500 users.