A first customer has been announced for the PICS clinical decision support system developed by University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust and distributed by Servelec Group.

The Royal Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has decided to take the system, after an OJEU tender process.

In a statement to Digital Health News, Tony Eardley, the trust’s chief information officer, said six different suppliers had been considered before the decision was made.

“The PICS solution will form the cornerstone of a future electronic patient record for the hospital, and the choice of other solutions to contribute to the EPR will be determined by how well they work with PICS,” he added. “Roll-out will be phased, and is likely to start in the third quarter of 2016.”

University Hospitals Birmingham developed the ‘prescribing information and communications system’ as an e-prescribing system, but has gone on to incorporate numerous patient management and clinical decision support tools.

The hospital announced in 2010 that it would work with CSE Healthcare, which is now part of Servelec Group, to develop the system so that other healthcare providers could buy it, and to supply integration and support services.

The Royal Orthopaedic Hospital already has a number of systems in common with its larger neighbour, so Eardley anticipates that “these will integrate seamlessly” with PICS.

“Our main driver is improving patient safety,” Eardley added. “Evidence indicates that medication and prescribing errors are greatly reduced with e-prescribing, when linked to decision support.

“We were particularly impressed with the comprehensive and up to date alerts and warnings integrated into the PICS product.

“The trust already scores well on patient safety, but we are committed to making our hospital as safe as it can be, and we anticipate that PICS will support us in our endeavour.”

Alan Stubbs, the chief executive of Servelec Group, said he was “particularly pleased” by the success for PICS, as this marked a “milestone” for the company and showed the potential of the product.

In 2013, the idea of making PICS open source was raised, but the trust decided that this would be “too risky” because of the size of the system and the difficulty of predicting and managing the impact of any changes.

Despite this, Royal Orthopaedic Hospital is not the only local trust to find another way to access the technology.

In 2013, Birmingham Children’s Hospital NHS Foundation Trust won £3.3 million from the ‘Safer Hospitals, Safer Wards: Technology Fund’ to work with University Hospitals Birmingham on paediatric e-prescribing, as part of a wider EPR project.

Last year, University Hospitals Birmingham won the ‘best use of IT to promote patient safety’ category of the EHI Awards 2014 for its work on PICS, alongside the ‘best use of technology to share information with patients and carers category for its myhealth@QEHB patient portal.