Dorset is planning to deploy its first shared care record in April despite concerns about “capital shortfalls”.

During a meeting on December 14, Dorset County Council delegated power to its chief executive to sign-off the Dorset Care Record contract with Orion Health.

However, the final sign-off remains subject “system-wide commitment to the project and the capital shortfall” of all eight-social care and NHS organisations involved.

Digital Health News understand such a commitment has not yet been attained but could only a few weeks away.

If approved, Dorset will award the 10-year care record contract, believed to be worth about £20 million, to Orion Health.

It will come after protracted negotiations were hampered by an unexpected shortfall in capital funding last year.

Council documents show these shortfalls arose after a reduction in central funding through the NHS Digital Care Fund, pushing back plans by between three and six months.

It is unclear to what extent these shortfalls have now been filled, but the council noted that “further capital allocations may be required to support the risk of a shortfall”.

Despite these concerns, last month Dorset CCG said in its board papers that the record was already in its “design phase” and should by “implemented” in April 2017.

If the record does proceed, it will start with a real-time summary of a person’s health and social care records that will draw from hospitals, GPs and social care systems.

Initially these will include health problems and diagnoses, prescribed drugs, blood tests, pathology and X-ray results, next of kin, carer and care provider and hospital discharge letters.

Eventually information could be shared with pharmacies and adjoining regions. Some of these regions already have shared care records, such as the well-established Hampshire Health Record.

Eight health and social care authorities are involved in the Dorset record, including three hospital trusts, one community trust, three councils and Dorset CCG.

Like many regions, a shared care record is seen a key technology in Dorset’s sustainability and transformation plan and local digital roadmap.

For the record to work, it must integrate securely with a patchwork of IT system across hospital, social care and GPs.

Digital Health Intelligence’s database shows that the acute trusts alone run three different electronic patient records.

Dorset County Hospital runs a System C system, The Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals uses Emis Health’s Camis system, and Poole Hospital runs on Graphnet’s CareCentric system.

However, the latter two trusts will soon share a single system, with Bournemouth and Christchurch planning to deploy CareCentric next winter.