ScanDox recently compiled a survey about the NHS Paperless drive in hospitals. We wanted to gather some general information around the topic after it was brought to attention by the press, following the Health Secretary’s speech to make the NHS Paperless by 2018.
Is paperless a good idea? Is it the only option we can take as there appears to be so many flaws in the existing admin process? Perhaps the most important factor of all is how likely each Trust will actually be “Paperless” by 2018.
Benefits of the technological shift
Eager to analyse the results of the survey we assembled, we soon found it presented us with a mix of responses. Many were very much for the technological shift whilst others did not see any benefits from going paperless- and who can blame them. This change will drastically affect the entire operation of the NHS on a day-to-day basis and there are many steps to take in getting there. That means a lot of time(not to mention money!) involved in the process. On the other hand, it presents so many benefits: –
- Readily accessible patient files
- Risk reduction of losing information
- All around improved patient care
We think we should embrace this technological change, and reap the benefits it provides.
From our question ‘how likely do you think it is your Trust will be paperless by 2018?’ , one prominent key themes to emerge from the survey was the term “Paper-lite/Paperless”. The majority of respondents said going completely paperless would be unlikely however a “Paper-lite” solution would be more realistic. Perhaps this comes from an uneasiness to the 2018 implementation deadlines.
The Importance of scanning current and day forward Casenotes
The survey also highlighted the importance of scanning current paper casenotes and ‘day-forward’ paper based records.
72% of respondents said that scanning of current casenotes was important, while 81% said scanning ‘day-forward’ casenotes was also central. The use of electronic forms similarly seemed to be a priority for 80% of respondents. This suggests that scanning is seen as a key factor in the move towards a “Paper-lite/Paperless” solution.
We very much agree.
It’s impossible to go from 100% paper to 0% paper instantly without a transition that involves scanning and we are pleased that its importance has been recognized. That being said, when asked if they knew of any consultants/organisations that specialise in helping to setup medical records scanning facilities embedded in an NHS Trust, only 23% of respondents could actually name an organisation. It seems that there is still a long way to go in terms of increasing the awareness and significance of scanning medical records.
Only 20% of respondents thought their Trust would be paperless by 2018. So what’s next? With so few feeling confident that it’s going to happen by then, it will be interesting to see what the government and suppliers do to try and persuade the businesses that it is in fact possible.
If you’re a Trust member or clinician looking to hit the 2018 deadline, call us on 01733 394269 to find out more about how we can help you make the transition to Paperless.