How to Digitise Medical Records and Improve Organisational Sustainability

12:30 - 13:00
26 April 2017

This presentation will cover the journey Ashford and St. Peter’s have been on to procure and deploy a document management solution over the past few years.  This project was part of the Department of Health Southern Acute Programme and received some central support as a result.

The benefits accruing from this are being realised now and are expected to reach £1.5m per annum on a recurring basis by the end of 2017/ 18.  These comprise mainly (re-use) of office space for clinical purposes and pay-cost savings in medical records.  These will amount to 0.5% of the Trust’s income each and every year moving forward – sustainability in action!  However, there are also significant “time to care” savings as access to records becomes ubiquitous and the days of lost notes becomes a thing of the past.

The project went through business case, specification and procurement stages before commencing deployment in summer 2016.  Since then the deployment has proceeded rapidly with “Full Digitisation” achieved in November 2016 i.e. all (active) legacy and day forward records scanned and no new medical records being created or added to.

Success was due to a number of factors, principally:

  • Strong Executive leadership and buy-in;
  • A compelling business case which scopes the execution costs clearly;
  • Clinical buy-in to the project from procurement onwards;
  • Recognition and support from Trust Board that the project is principally about change management and not IT per se (and resourcing it accordingly);
  • Rigorous governance, supplier and project management; and
  • Continuity of project teams and collectively holding our nerve when the going got tough.

Why isn’t everyone doing this?

The main reasons seem to be:

  • Lack of confidence and technology phobia following some spectacular “misses” with “IT” projects in recent years;
  • Challenges with affordability and the lack of capital for “invest to save” propositions alongside extreme risk aversion in Trust Boards;
  • Central support for the #paperless agenda being confined to rhetorical interventions.



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