The trust plans to scan in 650,000 legacy patient records and integrate them with a new electronic patient record system
"CCube EDRMS is designed to literally be an online version of the paper record and has six sections busy clinicians are familiar with. This makes it easy and intuitive for them to find the documents they need whether it be clinical correspondence, clinical notes, treatment documents, investigation reports, safeguarding documents and so on.” Geoff Burrow, chief information officer for Blackpool Teaching Hospitals
Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is implementing an electronic document and records management system (EDRMS) from CCube Solutions, as part of a bigger investment in digitisation.
The plan is to scan 650,000 legacy patient records into the system and train 7,500 clinical staff in how to access them. So far, more than 50,000 records have been scanned and made available. The purpose of an EDRMS system is to provide instant access to medical records, improving efficiency and effectiveness – and indirectly improving outcomes for patients. Clinicians working on different sites or from home will also have remote access to the records, which will be particularly useful for multidisciplinary teams needing to see the same record. Areas currently used to store paper records will be converted into clinical space.
The trust serves a population of 1.6 million as well as an estimated 18 million visitors annually, and deals with 32,000 outpatient appointments per month. It also provides specialist tertiary care for cardiac and haematology services across this region, and hosts the National Artificial Eye Service.
The huge job of scanning in the paper records is being done in two ways. Some of it is being carried out by a new scanning department with 10 Opex Falcon scanners and 35 staff. The rest is being outsourced to the NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA), one of the largest specialist scanning operators in Europe.
Because the trust is still in the process of implementing the EDRMS, when clinicians log into the trust’s patient administration system (PAS), they are presented with a marker to show whether the patient’s record is available digitally or still in paper format.
The trust is also procuring an organisation-wide electronic patient record (EPR) system, and once both the EPR and EDRMS have been deployed, the two systems will be integrated. Clinicians opening a patient’s record in the EPR will also be able to see the legacy digitised health record held in the EDRMS.
Geoff Burrow, chief information officer for Blackpool Teaching Hospitals, said: “CCube EDRMS is designed to literally be an online version of the paper record and has six sections busy clinicians are familiar with. This makes it easy and intuitive for them to find the documents they need whether it be clinical correspondence, clinical notes, treatment documents, investigation reports, safeguarding documents and so on.”
Vijay Magon, managing director for CCube Solutions, said that the company’s research showed that “on average, a paper record is handled 10 to 15 times from storage to delivery. Not only is there an infection risk as people touch the paper but the costs just keep mounting each time files are requested and then put away.” The investment, he said, would “massively increase efficiency, improve staff productivity and enhance the overall care provided to patients locally.”
“Digitisation of records has been a major focus of digitisation for some years, but progress varies nationally and across subsectors of health and care. Improving access to information through faster retrieval will improve patient experience and also outcomes.
“There is great potential for application of natural language processing (a form of AI) to these records to augment clinical advice, improve diagnostic capabilities and link datasets. This also frees up storage space in clinical or care facilities, and digital records can be accessed from whichever setting care is provided in. Reducing the use of paper in clinical and care settings also has potential climate benefits and is an area the Greener NHS team is exploring further.”
Dr Peter Bloomfield, head of policy and research