Frimley Park Hospital NHS Trust has gone live as a ‘first of type’ site for the Tiara9 electronic patient record system, as it attempts to get Spine compliance certification for Choose and Book and the new e-Referral Service.

The live trial at the hospital is the final stage of the certification process for the EPR and appointment management system, after the Health and Social Care Information Centre completed testing last week.

Ethitec, the supplier of Tiara9, said that a successful completion of the trial – which requires the system to run for ten consecutive days without major incident – will make it one of the first independent software providers to complete the certification process.

Frimley Park will also become one of the first hospitals in the country to introduce direct Choose and Book to its therapy services.

Val Sharples, occupational therapy manager for Frimley Park, told EHI the trial involves “a small number of services with a small amount of therapists” to ensure the system works correctly.

Sharples said the trust is hopeful that having access to Choose and Book will make it a more attractive referral source for GPs than previously, by allowing them to monitor appointments and cancellations that their patients make.

“What’s happening at the moment, they write a paper referral, and until the patient comes back or they get the discharge letter, they’re in the dark.”

If the trial is a success, Sharples said the trust will expand the number of services on Choose and Book, including occupational therapy after the ten-day period.

Sharples said the Tiara9 system was originally launched in the hospital’s inpatients service in 2009.

Since then, it has expanded to the physiotherapy, dietetics and speech and language teams at the hospital, while the occupational therapy department has gone “very paper-light”.

“We have very little paper now, and that is largely printed off for others rather than ourselves.”

Sharples said access to the EPR is limited in physiotherapy due to a shortage of computers, while there are a number of standardised paper forms for speech and language that cannot yet be put onto the EPR.

She said the system’s mobile access has been of significant benefit for therapists in the community, who can download the records of their patients for the day to view offline.

“Now they’ve got the patient on their computer, and they don’t have to rely on their signal.”

Simon Taylor, Ethitec’s managing director, said linking to the Spine will be a “significant step forwards” for the company and open up options for clinical commissioning groups to procure services from qualified providers.

Update: Tiara9 received e-Referrals / Choose and Book certification in October 2014, after running without incident at Frimley Park for the trial period.