NHS Highland will deploy InterSystems’ TrackCare patient management system starting this November.

InterSystems signed a contract for a PMS for Scotland in January 2010. It covers five boards: NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, NHS Lanarkshire, NHS Ayrshire and Arran, NHS Borders and NHS Grampian.

NHS Highland head of eHealth, Bill Reid, said the board had decided to join the framework to create a “pan-Highland patient management system”. This will replace two systems already in use: the iSoft PAS and Helix Health used in community care.

“One big advantage is that as clinical staff move across Scotland they are increasingly using the same system,” Reid explained.

NHS Highland was already talking to InterSystems and the Greater Glasgow and Clyde board about cross-border flow of patients as a significant number travelled out of area for treatment.

The go-live date for the PAS replacement is early November, which includes deployment in mental health and bed management.

Order communications for the acute service will be deployed the following April.

Reid told EHI that a number of TrakCare modules were excluded at this stage, including A&E, maternity and e-prescribing, but a business case to take them may be produced in the future.

The board was also talking to mental health clinicians about their needs as mental health acute and community services in the Highlands were integrated with social care.

“Initially it’s an acute services system, but we’re looking strategically at how we embrace adult care services across the Highlands as we’re now responsible for care homes in the area and we need an overall strategic direction to take into account these new services,” he added.

NHS Highland covered 40% of the land mass of Scotland and ensuring all clinicians bought into the new system was essential to the success of the project. Reid said this involved a “huge awareness campaign” across the region.

A clinical focus group was also meeting monthly and working to specify the total requirement for the PMS.

“We’re bringing them on at a very early stage, almost pre-project, so they are on-board and feel part of the whole thing,” he said.

InterSystems UK country manager Jonathan Selby said the company would use what it had learned about Scotland’s health informatics plans and processes to help NHS Highland meet its “unique implementation challenges”.

“The board’s challenges are characterised by a wide geography, significant investment in community care resources and the need to share information across different health economies,” he explained