Several trusts have been selected to take part in NHSX’s Digital Aspirant Plus (DA+) programme which aims to foster innovation in electronic patient records (EPR) systems across acute, mental health and community sectors. 

Within the mental health and community sectors, the programme aims to provide funding to support the development of EPR capabilities. This could include interoperability of clinical and operational systems; mobility and flexible working to support a mobile workforce with remote access; remote monitoring and supporting people at home; and support for full patient pathways.

While in acute sector, the programme will involve partnering with organisations at an early stage of their digital transformation journey to support them to select and implement a modern EPR. NHSX will support these organisations throughout the procurement and delivery of the EPR solution. Throughout the process, NHSX said it will develop delivery templates with participating trusts to support adoption and spread across other organisations, helping them save time and money when procuring and implementing an EPR.

NHSX will be providing seed funding of up to £250,000 to help chosen organisations accelerate their planning and readiness activity during 2021/22.

Humber Teaching NHS Foundation Trust has been selected to take part in the ‘EPR Innovator Project for Community and Mental Health Trusts’ programme.

The trust intends to use the funding to improve the user experience of its EPR and provide staff with an EPR that is secure, complements existing processes and is simple to use. By doing so, staff will quickly be able to access patient information and navigate digital systems, improving productivity.

Lee Rickles, CIO at the trust, said: “We are delighted to be an EPR Innovator Project for Mental Health. Our initial focus will be improving the user experience, meaning that the system will be designed around the person using it and adhere to staff needs.

“We will also be recruiting our operational Digital Champions to help us develop the EPR alongside these needs. Working with NHSX will bring new ideas, solutions and challenges to the exciting programme of work.”

Joining Humber is Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (ABP) and Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust.

Toby Avery, CDIO at Surrey and Borders, said: “The landscape is changing the need for digital and data solutions that work to enable us to work in the most effective way we can and deliver the best health and care outcomes that we can.

“We’ve been delivering integrated care for probably a decade, and we know it is essential and yet complicated, we want to scale up as a provider, we want to bring others into this not just SABP, it is possible now with where technology and thinking is.

“We have struggled with this previously. DA+ can help us to achieve this goal by working with the supplier market to meet todays need as well as tomorrows.”

Elsewhere, the four trusts selected to take part in the EPR Accelerator Project for Acute Trusts project are:

  • Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
  • Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
  • East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust
  • East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust.

Sonia Patel, CIO at NHSX, said: “Electronic Patient Record systems are the building blocks of good digital healthcare, but they are also complex and expensive to procure. At NHSX, we want to positively shape the EPR market in England and help local NHS organisations procure new, modern solutions and drive wider innovation in the market.

“These exciting projects will not just help the seven selected Trusts deliver better care for their patients and a better experience for their staff, but it will also help those other NHS organisations looking at EPR procurement.”

The very first 23 participants of the Digital Aspirant programme were announced in March 2020, with the second wave of Aspirants announced in March of this year.