Alaris is helping University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust to reduce costs, increase productivity and improve patient care by providing clinicians with faster access to records.
As part of a strategy to create a single, secure digital health record for every patient, instantly accessible from any location (or multiple locations), at any time, University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust (UHPNT) has set up an in-house scanning bureau equipped with Alaris production scanners and Alaris Capture Pro software.
The bureau has also installed its own scanning application, which uses barcodes to track paper records through the scanning process and which Alaris Professional Services has helped to integrate with the capture workflow.
Rob Harder, Head of IT Infrastructure and Support Services, said: “Alaris helped us streamline the scanning process making sure we captured the appropriate metadata and, because we use barcodes to streamline some of our processes, they ensured the software was configured to identify those barcodes. All of that really helped with the project in terms of making processes more efficient and effective.”
In setting up the facility, the Trust also drew on the expertise of Elisabeth Belisle, a long-term Alaris partner and creator of one of the UK’s first BS 10008-accredited specialist scanning bureaux. Her hands-on training and help with new procedures are crucial to achieving BS 10008 accreditation, which the Trust expects to do by autumn 2019, after which it can start to destroy scanned paper records.
When the project went live, UHPNT scanned patient notes from Paediatrics first and then Hepatology, with the intention of digitising health records for all specialities within three years.
Typically, the bureau scans 1,300 case notes and 2,000 day forward files each month, but in one month (January) it processed as many as 3,800 volumes and 2,650 files. To date, UHPNT has scanned a total of 24,000 case note volumes and 20,000 day forward files.
It has also cleared a backlog of almost 400,000 loose filing sheets going back many years, described as a ‘mammoth task’ by Health Records Manager Vanessa Bennett.
“If we had physically to file all the paper documents, we would never have got through it,” she said. “But we have been able to clear the loose filing backlog and most importantly make that information accessible to clinicians. They can now simply logon to e-notes and access missing information. Now, if we receive any loose filing for Paediatrics/Hepatology or ENT, we simply scan it as it comes in.”
Bennett adds that the feedback from medical staff has been extremely positive.
“They really like the ability to access patient notes when they see the patient instead of having to think ahead and request the notes out of the Records Library. Another benefit is that once digitised, a patient record can be seen by any other speciality. So, while the project has to date been centred on Paediatrics and Hepatology, if a patient in either of those specialities is referred to another department, we will digitise those notes as well,” she said.