The Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has gone out to tender for an electronic patient record, which it hopes to have in place by March 2014.

The Essex-based trust has placed a tender in the Official Journal of the European Union to procure an integrated EPR.

The tender notice says the EPR should include a patient administration system, A&E system, maternity information system, order communications and results reporting, e-prescribing, and a clinical portal including patient and community access.

The tender also states core system should be able to expand over time to provide “new functionality and functionality currently provided by specialist departmental systems, interfaced to [the patient administration system]."

“As contracts for these systems expire, the intention is to expand the core EPR system to incorporate their functionality, where possible, rather than replace them directly with new standalone departmental systems,” it says.

The trust’s head of IT, Anthony Lundrigan, said initial cost estimates were £6m for application licenses and supplier professional implementation services and £4m for support and hosting.

“We are very interested in obtaining the best value system for the functionality we require. This has to be in context of the current financial realities of our trust and the wider NHS,” he said.

The trust is currently using McKesson Totalcare, which Lundrigan said had served it well for many years.

“But it is coming to the end of its natural life, and technology has moved on. We want to have a new system in place by March 2014, so we need to start work now to achieve that,” he explained.

The tender says a number of elements of a full EPR will also be explored and included in a procurement exercise as optional functionality.

These include a data warehouse, care pathway management, and chronic disease management including registers and costing.

“The trust also requires the provision of associated systems implementation services including, but not limited to, data migration, project management, technical implementation, interfacing and integration, training, documentation, support and maintenance,” the tender adds.

“The trust is looking for a strategic partner capable of providing solutions which are adaptable or extendable to meet the future needs of the trust in building towards an electronic patient record.”

The contract, which the trust hopes to award towards the end of August, will be for a minimum of ten years, with extensions considered as appropriate.

Lundrigan said the investment in an EPR was a key part of trust’s transformational goal to become one of the best local hospitals in England, where the quality of patient care is paramount.