A Birmingham mental health collaboration has gone live with Advanced’s Carenotes electronic patient record to support its 15,000 young patients.

Forward Thinking Birmingham, the country’s first mental health service for one to 25-year-olds, went live with the system in April.

The collaboration is led by Birmingham Children’s Hospital, and is designed to close the gap between mental health services for children and adolescents, and services for adults.

Overall five NHS organisation and charities are involved, including the hospital, Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust, the Priory Group, Beacon UK and The Children’s Society.

This is the first time all organisation have used the same EPR for mental health patients, although Worcestershire Health and Care and the Priory Group previously used Carenotes for other patients.

Adam Carson, IT associate director at Birmingham Children’s Hospital, said the care of this young group of patients was previously being managed on a paper based system.

“The CAMHS were completely paper beforehand. So it’s a big step.”

Carenotes now provides access to electronic patient records that can be used for recording appointments, clinical notes and assessments.

Throughout the region, 350 mental health workers over five different sites have access to Carenotes, including staff at Birmingham Children’s A&E and the region’s adult mental health service.

At the moment the EPR is desktop based, but will be made available remotely via a mobile and tablet app in July.

Carenotes is a totally new discreet electronic record and, at this stage, is not linked up to either GP or hospital electronic record systems.

Adams said it would eventually be more closely integrated, starting with a link into the upcoming Your Care Connect, which will give hospital staff greater access to GP records.

However, this is likely, at least initially, to be a one-way system and will not give hospitals or GPs greater access to mental health records.

Next year a patient portal will also be added, enabling patients to access their own medical records and book appointments.

Carson said the Carenotes deployment had been going well, particularly given it was being used over a relatively new collaboration of organisations.

“The staff really like it but there are challenges with working with a brand new service.”

Benefits included creating a central record that allowed the services to “manage the pathway of care for 0-25 year-olds in a way that was not possible before, ensuring smooth transfers of information and services between the different stages of a patient’s care”.

The contract, which Advanced won through the London Procurement Partnership, is worth £1.3 million over five years. The software is being hosted in England on the N3 NHS cloud network.

Advanced has only had an EPR running on the framework since last year. However, following the shelving of the National Programme for IT at least six trusts have switched to Carenotes from the previous NPfIT mental health EPR supplier RiO.

To date this have included at least Oxford Health, Tavistock and Portman, Camden and Islington, Guy’s and St Thomas’ foundation trusts and Devon Partnership NHS Trust.