In May 2014, North Bristol NHS Trust (NBT) opened its new, state-of-the-art hospital in Bristol, England. The hospital featured innovative design methods aimed at reducing waiting times and improving patient experiences. Despite this, NBT was still using paper-based medical record stores which created massive costs and slow processes of getting documents to clinicians.
“We had around 1.2 million medical folders stored off-site, with in excess of 1,000 being delivered to Southmead Hospital and other premises daily,” said Neil Darvill, director of informatics at NBT. “In the long term, clearly this was an unsustainable way of working, so we set corporate and clinical objectives to find a digital solution and ensure our staff were case note-free at the point of care.”
NBT partnered with CCube Solutions to implement its award-winning electronic document and records management (EDRM) software to remove paper, save staff time and reduce the costs associated with data storage.
“The project was an integral part of the trust’s phased Electronic Patient Record strategy, as we sought out a platform to ensure that our 6,000 healthcare professionals had instant access to patient medical records as and when needed,” said Darvill. “We were also working to NHS national strategy which set organisations the target of being paper-free by 2020.”
After deploying the EDRM software, NBT has been able to provide clinicians with instant access to medical records. Staff previously had to request paper files from the Medical Records Library, which could take hours to reach them.
“In modern hospitals, people need access to notes for a number of things,” said David Mitchell, chief clinical information officer at NBT. “If a note is sat with a secretary waiting for a letter to be typed, it is inaccessible to everyone else, which has an adverse effect on clinical care. With the digital archive, we now have the ability to search our files and quickly find what we need. The record is now available 24 hours a day, and multiple people can access a record at the same time.”
The new EDRM system is enhancing clinical effectiveness, reducing operational costs, ensuring record and data compliance, and ultimately improving patient safety and care.
“We have gone from an archaic, costly way of working, represented by a massive warehouse full of documents, to a timely system where multiple staff can access patient records simultaneously online, 24/7, without logistical nightmares,” said Darvill. “We have come a long way.”
This article was originally published in the Winter 2020 issue of The Record. To get future issues delivered directly to your inbox, sign up for a free subscription.
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