An NHS mental health trust is testing a new system for the electronic prescribing of medicines.

In board papers published this September, Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust said it is working with Civica, the supplier of its electronic patient record Paris, as “beta testing partners” for the ParisPrescribing system.

The papers add that the trust expects six months of testing to begin this month. If successful, a business case will be put together for the implementation of the full system.

Speaking to Digital Health News, Linda Elverson, business development director for e-prescribing at Civica, said the system is developed as an independent module that can work with Paris and with other clinical systems.

She said: “It’s been designed so it’s seamless. [At Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys] it takes information from Paris and feeds that into prescribing, as it would do it if it was connected to any EPR.

"The key thing about that is that is has the capability to be interoperable between other systems.”

The beta test at Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys is intended to make sure that the system works in a clinical setting and users like the way it is designed and functions.

“What we are doing is taking a group of users and we are letting those users try the system as they would use it in a day-to-day setting. We will work with the trust to make sure those users are content in the way they are using the system.”

Elverson said that the project was in its early stages and that details, such as what wards will be used, are still being worked out.

She expects the beta test to conclude by May 2016 after which, depending on the trial’s success, the Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys will be the first site to go live with ParisPrescribing.

Civica has been developing its e-prescribing platform for the past four years. “While our heritage comes perhaps from mental health, this is a prescribing platform that suits all markets,” said Elverson.

She added that this is an important attribute as the NHS moves towards a more integrated system of care, with healthcare communities bringing together aspects of community, mental health and acute care.

“We can bring these things together in different environment and ensure that those organisations investing in us are safeguarding what they are investing in.”

ParisPrescribing is included on NHS Shared Business Services’ £1.25 billion clinical information systems framework launched in February this year. Elverson said that Civica is working with a number of other sites on electronic prescribing, although she did not mention other trusts by name.

Digital Health News reported in February this year that Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust is implementing Civica’s Paris EPR, and that electronic prescribing was one of the modules to be tested.