Enabling the NHS to move to digital-first interoperable care records

Solution Guides

Digitise your medical records, repurpose your onsite medical libraries and access your patient records electronically - with full compliance and industry-leading security

15 August 20226 mins
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Digitise your medical records, repurpose your onsite medical libraries and access your patient records electronically - with full compliance and industry-leading security.

Whether you are in primary or secondary care, you can give clinicians faster access to the right information, decrease the risk of inadvertent disclosure of records, and transform your real-estate to maximise clinical-use capacity, allowing more time with patients and improved outcomes.

Business challenge

An industry-wide transformation

The healthcare sector has set out goals for transformation in a range of areas via the NHS’ Long Term Plan. As the Digital Health & Care Plan becomes a key component of this, many of the changes will require access to digital patient records wherever care is being provided, and the need for one integrated care record per patient which can be viewed across health- and social care.

Trusts, ICSs and GP surgeries are all looking to optimise clinical efficiency and administration, while adopting services that enable the integrated care model and provide the potential for patients to be able to access their own records online.

Eventually, data-driven care will be able to promote improvements in patient outcomes.

Phasing out paper

Paper records are becoming a thing of the past as these trends accelerate - working with paper may involve multiple record repositories, takes up large amounts of real estate, requires staff members to manage libraries and retrieve records, slows down the sharing of records and makes a full audit trail much more difficult to manage.

Across the NHS, adopting a ‘digital first’ mindset has become the norm as organisations deal with managing decades’ worth of predominantly paper-based patient records while managing pressures to reduce costs and create more efficient workstreams.

Solution & next steps

Most organisations now have some level of digital transformation programme (although as many as 13% of Trusts still have no EPR in place), and this is a critical first step. Starting with the end goal in mind is ambitious but necessary as the best way of avoiding longer-term issues with system incompatibilities.

However, putting it into practice can be difficult, particularly when trying to minimise the number of providers required.

Iron Mountain provides an integrated service for viewing born-digital patient records as well as digitising records and providing them back through one portal. For primary care, this can be done through your existing clinical system and for secondary care, this can be done through integration with your PAS. We are also able to do the same for non-medical records.

This integrated service allows implementation of a compliant organisation-wide records and information management programme, improving patient outcomes and patient care. Our approach options can be summarised as follows:

  • End-To-End Document Management: provision of the online portal through which digitised and born-digital medical records can be viewed, combined with our records management and digitisation capabilities provides a joined-up solution all the way from moving records offsite to seamlessly uploading them for your teams.
  • Medical Records Scanning: bulk or scanning service and critical integration into your Trust’s EPR or EDRM systems
  • Image on Demand service and Offsite Secure Patient Records Storage: electronic retrieval and delivery ‘as needed’ of semi-active and active patient records stored securely offsite

With any of these solutions in place, you’ll have the resources to convert your hard copy documents to an electronic format and then make them available to users across your organisation. Leveraging our paper-to-digital conversion services and best practices, you’ll be able to optimise your core business activities.

Primary care: Digital access through your clinical system

GP surgeries across the UK are moving digital through the national Lloyd George Digitisation Programme. Iron Mountain manages the uplift, offsiting, cataloguing and digitisation of records, combined with providing them back into your chosen clinical system.

This work is currently being carried out at CCG level, but will continue as ICSs are formed and can also take place at individual surgery level.

Secondary care: Digital access integrated into your workflow through an online portal

In secondary care, hard-copy records are made available digitally in advance of appointments using sophisticated workflow technology which integrates with a Trust’s Patient Administration System.

Once scanned the records and associated metadata are delivered safely and securely into the EDMS via secure file transfer 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 hand-helds.

Once a patient record has been digitised, it resides securely in the EDMS and is governed by strict access rights and accessibility rules. The system maintains a complete audit of every action taken at document, patient and system level. Users have access to various features and viewing functions, including the ability to annotate, bookmark and redact information. They can also search the patient record with OCR (Optical Character Recognition) or via SmartIndexing™, a technology which allows users to filter for key documents at the single click of a button.

Clinicians always see the patient’s most recent notes every time they log in.

Implementation is supported by an experienced team who complete the entire process-mapping, business change and transformational work required to ensure complete adoption of the technology, services and processes.

NHS Records Digitisation Solution - Auditable chain of custody - image of infographic

Features at a glance

  • End-to-end service offering digitisation and EDMS with one provider
  • Professional support to integrate digitised records with your own systems and workflows, including PAS and clinical systems
  • Consultative approach derived from industry best practice experience
  • Support with business case development
  • Proven audit services and analysis so you can start by clarifying what you have and what you need
  • Project management capabilities to support required transformation
  • Industry-leading secure production facilities for offsite bulk scanning and digitisation
  • Hybrid storage and scanning models so you can scan as you go
  • Physical inactive records stored cost-effectively in highly-secure state-of-the-art facilities
  • Strict compliance with latest data privacy and industry regulations as detailed in HL7
  • Existing associations with major technology suppliers including Electronic Patient Records (EPR) and Electronic Records Management (EDRM) systems suppliers
  • ISO 9001-, ISO27001- and ISO 14001-certified supplier
  • All digitisation carried out to BS10008 standard meaning legally admissible in court


  • Give your clinicians fast access to the right information by reducing your reliance on paper, creating more patient-facing clinical time
  • Work with one supplier to digitise and view patient records as they are required
  • Free up valuable space and repurpose it for patient-centred clinical use
  • Free up staff from having to retrieve, circulate and track paper files, often multiple times for the same file
  • Integrate your digitisation programme with your PAS, enabling selective preappointment scanning of legacy files
  • Easily transfer inactive patient records to a secure, offsite location and access them on demand
  • Access an outsourced solution to all your scanning and document needs, in which investment in hardware, software and personnel has already been made
  • Minimise labour costs and incidence of data breach
  • Accelerate the potential to analyse records and improve treatments and outcomes

Working with Iron Mountain

"It’s easier to see associated symptoms and conditions, aiding decision-making throughout the patient journey; from consultation to diagnosis and treatment."

Barnsley Hospital, NHS Foundation Trust

"Iron Mountain offered us a cost-effective, comprehensive solution for scanning and storage. Using electronic patient files has improved access to vital clinical records - safeguarding child welfare and improving staff productivity."

Birmingham Children's Hospital

"Moving to the CCS framework gave us cost savings of around 33 percent across our legacy archive. We’ve been able to redeploy people who once managed the archive and by moving the files offsite we’ve freed up space to be re-deployed for clinical purposes. Overall savings are around £1.3m per annum."

Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust

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