Powered by Kodak production scanners, MISL digitises The Royal Free Hospital's medical files in record time

20% operator productivity improvement from using new scanners

Kodak Alaris has announced that its partner, MISL, is 24 months ahead of schedule and will have scanned all of The Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust’s patient medical records by Christmas 2015.

Taking just 21 months, this is a significant achievement given that around 750,000 patient files will have been digitized, totalling some 3oo million images.

MISL won the significant £4.5m contract to provide document scanning services to The Royal Free in November 2013. The project has involved the digitisation of the hospital's entire medical records archive and the ongoing scanning of patient information as new clinical notes are created, so-called day forward scanning.

Dealing with medical records is not like scanning invoices or bank statements. You're potentially playing with someone's life if there isn't the level of quality in the images scanned

Originally the project was expected to take five years, but MISL will complete early given the new processes put in place, the hard work of staff, and investment in new technology which has boosted bureau productivity by over 20%.

One of the most-famous medical centres in the country, The Royal Free is a teaching hospital located in Hampstead, north London. It offers world-class clinical expertise in kidney, liver and bone marrow transplants, breast and plastic surgery, and the treatment of tumors. It has achieved a number of ‘firsts' in the UK – being the first hospital to carry out a liver transplant between a live adult donor and a patient, and the first to introduce a PET scan for breast cancer. Every year it treats around 68,000 inpatients and 500,000 outpatients.

Will Smart, The Royal Free's chief information officer, said: “Digitising our medical records library is in line with the Government's QIPP agenda, Jeremy Hunt's challenge that trusts should be paperlite and, of course, our desire to keep improving patient care. Fast access to notes via computers delivers this and means our clinicians now have patient records right at their fingertips."

To meet the specific contractual requirements, MISL hired new staff, leased a new building dedicated to the project and bought new IT equipment - an investment totaling £500,000. As part of this, MISL purchased five Kodak i5600 and six Kodak i5800 production scanners along with Kodak Capture Pro Network Edition imaging software.

Steven Clarke, MISL's sales and marketing director, said: "Dealing with medical records is not like scanning invoices or bank statements. You're potentially playing with someone's life if there isn't the level of quality in the images scanned. It's very easy to forget this, which is why we wanted the best equipment to do the job."

MISL agreed various SLAs with The Royal Free depending on record type. For archive scanning, it had a five-day turnaround from collection to image upload, two days for day forward scanning, and two hours for accident & emergency records on receipt of files at the MISL bureau. Images have been securely transmitted via leased line to The Royal Free's electronic document and records management (EDRM) system from Open Text.

Alastair Crisp, The Royal Free's EDRM programme manager, said: “MISL has been sending us over 500,000 images a day, which are loaded into Open Text and made available at the point of care for all clinicians."

Given The Royal Free's focus on transplant patients - of which there are over 600 - MISL has done all the scanning of these records onsite using a Kodak i5600 scanner, such is the importance of these notes. Reliability of the scanning equipment is therefore paramount.

"In tandem with image quality, service and support was crucial to the whole project and another reason why Kodak Alaris was selected," said Francesca Foy, MISL's operations manager.

In addition, MISL put in place robust disaster recovery plans to ensure business continuity. Clarke said: "We've tested our processes without Kodak Alaris even knowing it. Performance was excellent, which provided us total confidence that we could meet all our commercial commitments to the trust."

MISL has been sending us over 500,000 images a day, which are loaded into Open Text and made available at the point of care for all clinicians

Scanner performance is already delivering 20% productivity gains. MISL has seen a 20% improvement in operator productivity using the Kodak i5600 and i5800 production scanners in contrast to older equipment deployed at the bureau. The new scanners process 170 and 210 pages per minute respectively with no daily volume limits. Clarke said: "We've been working to tight margins so the 20% gain means we've hired 70 staff to service The Royal Free account not 84 - that's a saving straight to our bottom line."

Neil Murphy, Kodak Alaris' UK sales manager, added: “Reliability, performance, service and support are the hallmarks of what makes us unique in the market. Image quality is also key.

“MISL had to meet a 0.01% image failure rate target. The fact is achieved this is testament to the performance of Kodak Capture Pro imaging software, which also has no click charges - perfect for cost-sensitive organisations where paper processing volumes are huge."

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