North Essex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust is investing £5m in designing and implementing a clinical information system using Civica’s PARIS software.

Director of resources Rick Tazzini told eHealth Insider the trust runs a legacy bespoke patient information system that it calls Carebase.

However, this is a very old green screen product and it wants something more flexible and “easy on the eye.”

“We wanted to design the system in a way that wraps itself around clinical pathways, so that when clinicians provide treatment and services to a patient, they haven’t got to work around the system to get the information,” he said.

A clinical advisory group has been involved from the outset in producing the statement of requirements and deciding which system to purchase.

The PARIS product met a lot of the standard functionality needs, but a lot of work is yet to be done to configure it to the trust’s needs, Tazzini explained.

A team of 30 people is implementing the system, with staff engaged via work groups, review groups and more than 100 subject matter experts.

“We know we have bought a good product. The challenge now is to implement it as best we possibly can – we want maximum productivity and benefits out of the system,” he said.

The trust is aiming to go-live next April and is still deciding whether to go “big bang” or start with a smaller pilot in children’s services.

The aim is to remove paper-based reporting with clinicians able to view and contribute to a single electronic record for each patient across the trust.

Tazzini said £70m of the trust’s payroll was spent on clinical and clinical facing staff.

“I think we could be prudent in saying we should be generating between 5-10% productivity improvements within workforce with this tool,” he added.

“It means we can spend more time with patients and see more patients.”

The PARIS software will also integrate with a substance misuse system and the country council’s social care system.

Tazzini said using the new system would significantly improve the trust’s reporting abilities, which currently involved extracting data in excel spreadsheets.

The trust provides mental health, substance misuse and social care services and support for more than 23,600 people and their families.

The £5m includes the cost of the system, described as a “very small element”, and investment in designing and implementing it across the trust.

Trusts in the South that did not receive the CSE Healthcare’s RiO system from BT as part of the National Programme for IT in the NHS were slated to receive national funding for systems via an ASCC catalogue procurement.

This was launched in November 2009, but collapsed two years later, following a change of government. An alternative procurement, that will be centrally funded, is still due to take place.

The Department of Health told EHI that this procurement was in the final stages of receiving government approval in March. However, it has yet to start.

David Roots, managing director of Civica’s Health and Social Care division, said it was "delighted" to have won the North Essex Partnership contract and that it was looking forward to working with the trust.

"Our PARIS system is able to be configured locally to the exacting requirements of the truswt, [which will] help to enhance its delivery of mental health and community-based care to its service users," he said.