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A case study describing how by digitising patient records an NHS Trust maximised digital transformation benefits via an integrated end-to-end solution
“The immediate goal was to digitise 184,000 paper files, with an eye on the future for patients to securely access their own care plans and medical records online.”
With a busy hospital campus, outpatient clinics and various outreach services, the Foundation Trust provides care for more than 250,000 local residents. That means efficiently handling over 265,000 clinical appointments and 83,000 accident and emergency attendances annually.
Over the last five years, the Trust had been building digital capabilities, placing people at the healthcare system’s centre so they receive the right care at the right time. Those efforts further improved quality and patient safety, while stabilising the Trust’s financial position and achieving cost reduction targets. As with many NHS organisations, the strategy gathered pace as the pandemic took hold and priorities shifted to keeping staff and patients safe from COVID-19 through measures such as enabling remote working.
With the additional pressures on top of all the usual challenges of locating and pulling patient records from overflowing archives, the Trust began looking at scanning options. As COVID-19 cases eased during the first national lockdown those requirements were swept into a wider transformation programme to create a community-wide integrated electronic patient record (EPR) system. The immediate challenge was to digitise and provide access to 184,000 paper files, with an eye on the future for patients to securely view their own care plans and medical records online.
The search was on to find a complete end-to-end solution, delivering efficient file collection, indexing, imaging and destruction with an intuitive electronic document management system (EDMS) and a fully secure audit trail throughout.
“Hard-copy records are made available digitally in advance of appointments using sophisticated tracking technology which fully integrates with the Trust’s Patient Administration System.”
Following a public tender, the Trust chose Iron Mountain® based on a successful solution demonstration, intuitive user experience and the organisation’s expertise in information governance.
As part of the service specialists collect boxes from site. Every document is carefully indexed and put through a high-complexity scanning preparation process. The files are given individual barcodes for tracking. After scanning, the paper originals can be securely destroyed with a full audit trail when authorised by the Trust.
Once scanned the records and associated metadata are uploaded to the EDMS and presented in a format familiar to clinical end-users. Information is easy to find with customisable navigation and search options.
The EDMS is designed in HTML5 from the ground up and works with any device, including tablets and handhelds. Patients’ medical records are made available on the system in advance of appointments and delivered safely and securely into the EDMS via secure file transfer. The records are accessible via the Trusts’ host EPR in true context launch ensuring the minimal number of clicks.