Health workers say digital medical records make all the difference in the operating theatre

Xerox-led digital overhaul of patient records gives Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust real-time access to life-saving information

For healthcare to work better, clinicians and health workers need the latest information at their fingertips -patient prescriptions, appointment times, historical notes etc, all need to be in one place.

In pursuit of this vision, Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust partnered with Xerox to digitise its records management processes, and has scanned over 81 million pages to provide digital and mobile-friendly access to information across its clinics and admissions centres.

By eliminating the need to search for physical records in cabinets, the new system is saving hours every week for health workers, allowing them to focus their efforts on patient care and make more-informed decisions.

Mike McCabe, a consultant anaesthetist at Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, said instant access to records helps him make better decisions for the patient. He added: "It's like flying a plane with radar instead of without.”

Recently, he was called to carry out emergency surgery on a man just admitted with a ruptured aneurysm. He said: "We had to act immediately. Previously that meant doing our best without context. This time, having his name, we instantly access his records. With his medical history revealed, we adjusted our plan."

The trust, which covers three sites in Redditch, Kidderminster and Worcester, receives over 2,000 patients a day across accident and emergency, emergency and planned admissions and outpatients departments.

To ensure the documents for these patients are scanned correctly, clinicians write their notes on forms carrying smart barcodes, which are sent for scanning immediately after use. These files are stored as images and processed through Xerox’s secure, on-site scanning centres, using optical character recognition to enable smart indexing of these files.

As a result, authorised users have 24/7 access to electronic, searchable clinical records at the point of care delivery. Using an iPad interface from Kainos Evolve, they can call records to hand instantly when there is a need to act quickly.

“Patients receive better treatment when their records are readily available – it’s that simple, said Dr Steve Graystone, associate medical director for patient safety at Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust.

“The Xerox records management team are our colleagues in patient care.”

This project marks the beginning of Worcestershire’s move towards digitisation, in keeping with the NHS’s wider challenge to ‘go paperless’ by 2020.

“Digitising paper-based records has a huge part to play in increasing efficiencies within the NHS,” said Darren Cassidy, managing director at Xerox UK.

“Not only does it save time for staff, but ensuring records are always available and up to date has a critical impact on the decisions made about patient care. We are continually focused on making healthcare work better, finding better ways for people, process and technology to work together.”

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