Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust has signed a five-year contract with Advanced Health and Care and plans to start rolling out its CareNotes electronic patient record from March next year.

The trust’s current core systems, including its CSC / iSoft iPatient Management system, have been in use for more than 15 years.

CareNotes will be used by 5,000 staff across all of the trust’s clinical pathways, allowing data to be available in real time and interfacing with the NHS Summary Care Record and legacy systems.

Dr Kay McDonald, the trust’s clinical academic director, told EHI the trust wanted to replace its “patchwork” of legacy systems with a modern system that is easier to use.

“Our legacy system was a bit of a patchwork of different systems, and we wanted one system for continuity: it needed to be interoperable with our partners, and flexible to meet local needs.”

McDonald said the trust also wants to reduce unnecessary duplication of records and multiple data entries as it aims to become a paper-light organisation.

“We couldn’t really go paper-light [with the old system], we had staff entering data multiple times and not talking to each other. Although we were safe, it was incredibly challenging and it increased the risk of not getting the right information through.”

McDonald said the system’s mobile working solution was a significant part of its appeal, with the implementation of a new EPR coming in tandem with “heavy investment” in the trust’s IT infrastructure to roll out tablets, laptops and mobile devices.

“I’ve spoken to trusts where they had the mobile technology but they haven’t had the best system to work with it, so that was important for us.”

McDonald said the trust is also developing a patient portal to allow patients and carers to view a summary record of their care online, and has already been getting feedback from patients and carers about how the portal should function.

The trust is planning to undertake its first go-live in children’s and young people’s services in March.

McDonald said the system roll-out is expected to take up to 18 months, with the potential to accelerate the programme depending on how significant the benefits are from the first sites to go-live.

Jim Chase, managing director of Advanced Health and Care, said: “We are very pleased to be working with Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust to deliver a new and improved EPR solution which will play a significant part in placing them at the forefront of NHS health delivery.”

Chase said the contract is the fourth win for Advanced in the community and mental health sector, with a further 50 contracts expected to come up for renewal between 2014 and 2016.