Barking, havering and redbridge university hospitals NHS Trust

Customer Success Stories

Learn how the NHS Trust created a more effective model for managing patient information and leverage the experience in your business.

23 May 20198 mins
Iron Mountain logo with blue mountains


Public Sector


Create a more effective model for managing patient information


Full records consolidation and offsite archiving solution, processing some 60,000 boxes of paper documents


  • Consolidated library of 2.1 million patient files
  • Complemented digital initiatives, contributing towards a 30% cost saving
  • Greater control and visibility of records with support for future improvements

Economies of scale with improved governance

Curing an archive-everything culture

Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust is a centre of excellence for neuro, stroke and maternity care. It also provides emergency and specialist services for a diverse community of 750,000 people from two large sites: Queen’s Hospital in Romford and King George Hospital in Ilford.

Like many healthcare providers, the Trust must constantly seek new efficiencies against a backdrop of financial constraints, skill gaps and the increasingly complex needs of an ageing population. Part of the challenge was to find a more effective way of managing paper records.

“Departments tended to make decisions locally, resulting in an archive-everything culture,” says Matthew Fleming, Head of Health Records for the Trust. “We had multiple storage companies, varying service levels, incomplete record inventories and no sense-checking of destruction dates. To improve governance and economies of scale we decided to move to a single preferred supplier.”

Speedy, hassle-free service

Following a rigorous procurement process, a proposal from Iron Mountain® was deemed to offer best value for money. To kick-start the consolidation of 2.1 million files, Iron Mountain ensured a hassle-free move by collecting all non-active patient records from previous storage suppliers.

Individual box contents were indexed and listed on the Iron Mountain Connect™ online portal within 24 hours of receipt, ensuring a failsafe electronic inventory and facilitating an efficient records-ordering process. Iron Mountain also provides a track-andtrace audit trail of retrieved documents.

“The Iron Mountain Connect training and support is better than anything we’ve had before,” says Matthew. “We used to have to email people and if they were away scramble around to locate records. Now, you simply search and add files to your basket and submit a request. It’s like online shopping.”

Iron Mountain will normally deliver records to the Trust within 24 hours, although this can accelerate to a two-hour turnaround if required.

Similarly, boxes and records collections are quickly arranged using the Iron Mountain Connect online portal. “The system makes it really easy to document a quality process describing how we manage information,” Matthew adds.

“We can see every time someone sends or recalls a file, and it’s so much simpler to keep track of records as they move between departments.”

–Matthew Fleming, Head of Health Records, Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust

Paving the way for digital advances

The Iron Mountain online portal was also utilised on a second project, empowering the Trust to clearly label files with correct review and destruction dates, in line with information retention compliance requirements.

Assisted by Trust-led digital initiatives, the library was subsequently reduced to around 700,000 non-active patient files, providing a 30 per cent cost saving from a significantly smaller archiving footprint. In addition, process automation has helped remove the risk of human error. “To add new documents to the system we just scan a barcode, removing the potential for typing mistakes,” explains Matthew.

By equipping staff with mobile devices – and enabling them to handle all records information in one system – the Trust expects to make further productivity gains.

Springboard for future improvements

Previously, the Trust suffered as a result of frequent mergers and acquisitions among storage suppliers, resulting in constant changes in process and service levels. Moving to Iron Mountain removed those problems with a common approach for information management and a consistent customer experience.

The Trust enjoys much greater control with a central point of contact and escalation point for archiving requests. “We can see every time someone sends or recalls a file,” says Matthew, “and it’s so much simpler to keep track of records as they move between departments.”

Iron Mountain provides a dashboard report every month, summarising activity by department at a glance. Regular reviews provide a springboard for new ideas.

“When I meet with our Iron Mountain account manager we come up with lots of good ideas and she’ll often suggest things I didn’t think possible,” says Matthew. “For example, finding clever ways to cut down on double-handling and rekeying of data, or tidying up legacy inventories inherited from our previous suppliers.”

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