Clinical portal cuts outpatient waiting times at Liverpool trust

Liverpool trust reports financial and efficiency savings just months after EPR deployment

Dr Ulf Demnitz, A and E consultant, explains the positive impact the clinical portal has had on efficiency at the trust

Consultants at the Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust claim to be saving up to 30 minutes in every outpatient clinic following the introduction of an electronic patient records system.

The paperless clinical portal was installed at the end of last year and is already proving a success, helping to save money, improve patient care and make life easier for clinicians.

The Harris Carefx solution was delivered by CSC and enables healthcare staff to access patient information from a variety of systems on a single computer screen, regardless of where they are in the trust.

Speaking to BBH about the impact the technology has had on services and outcomes, Dr Ulf Demnitz, an A&E consultant, said medics could now find out essential information on patients before they were even called into the consulting room.

The clinical portal gives us access on a single screen, whereas in the past we would have to log in and out of different systems, which takes time and is frustrating

“We use the clinical portal a lot,” he said. “Often in A&E we know very little about our patients and need to access previous history and up-to-date records in a speedy fashion. The clinical portal gives us access on a single screen, whereas in the past we would have to log in and out of different systems, which takes time and is frustrating.”

Consultant cardiologist, Dr Mike Fisher, added: “The biggest benefit is the availability of patient notes.

“We had a situation in the past where sometimes notes were missing completely or, more commonly, they were tied up in other clinics. In this case it could take hours, or sometimes days, to get them.

“With the clinical portal we can also order results online at the bedside. This saves money as we used to spend hundreds of thousands of pounds on paper forms and the systems needed to process these.”

The portal has also proved a big hit with the pathology team as it helps to improve test results reporting.

There are both administrative and real patient safety advantages to this system

Dr Tim Helliwell, consultant histopathologist at the trust, said: “When we look at samples we like to have as much information as possible. Previously, we might have had to go with the information off the request form, or ask for additional information. Now we have that available. We have access to various blood tests and can make all the relevant diagnostic decisions. If results are out of range to the point of being dangerous, the system generates automatic alerts to the relevant clinicians. There are both administrative and real patient safety advantages to this system.”

On average, clinicians are saving up to 30 minutes in outpatient clinics and the process of ordering and reviewing blood tests and liaising with primary care specialists following discharge has been significantly improved.

With the new hospital due to open in 2017, we plan to be not just a world-class hospital, but one of the most technically advanced as well

Professor Patrick Chu, consultant haematologist, said: “Now that I have the clinical portal, I arrive in the clinic and I don’t see multiple volumes of case notes and instead of flicking through all pages in the case notes I just look at the screen.For a three-and-a-half to four-hour clinic, I can save 30 minutes of time which I can use to see more patients or to see new patients.”

James Norman, IT director, added: “This trust has a very innovative nature and we thrive on new technologies being incorporated. With the new hospital due to open in 2017, we plan to be not just a world-class hospital, but one of the most technically advanced as well.”

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