Bedford Hospital, a 400-bed site that’s part of Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, stores and manages some 240 million pieces of paper in its hundreds of thousands of patient records. By digitising those records, the acute hospital can save money, decrease storage demands and improve patient care.
The Trust recently entered a seven-year agreement with Xerox to roll out Xerox Services for Digital Patient and transform the patient healthcare experience. Through this partnership, care providers will be able to securely access more than 800,000 digital patient records, enabling more efficient treatment at the point of care.
“Having instant access to a patient’s medical records is essential to delivering the highest quality care in a timely manner,” said Josh Chandler, associate director of IT at Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
Issues With Paper Health Records
Traditional paper health records present several challenges. In the clinical setting, documents can be misfiled, lost or unnecessarily duplicated, specialty notes can go uncaptured, and crucial time can be wasted while caregivers search for relevant information. There are potential security issues, with records stored in potentially insecure areas, with difficulty controlling access and without an audit process. And paper management is inherently challenging, requiring space, transportation, systems for filing and retrieval, and policies for retention and disposal.
Recent Future of Work research from Xerox shows that 62% of healthcare organisations are allocating additional budget toward technology, and a further 38% are now accelerating digital transformation plans. To support clinicians and improve access to patient records, the NHS is investing in technology including screens, iPads, laptops and phones.
The Trust needed a solution that would reengineer the process and use technology to improve access, security, space management and, ultimately, patient care.
The Xerox Solution
By deploying Xerox Services for Digital Patient, Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is digitising medical records to improve communication and care coordination amongst clinicians and patients. The transformation is enabling better treatment at the point of care by giving caregivers secure, instant access to more than 800,000 digital medical records, and by allowing multiple teams to be able to review patient medical history simultaneously while ensuring compliance.
Xerox is providing the Trust with end-to-end service over the course of the 12- to 18-month process, in which documents are digitised as they’re needed, prioritising the investment on the most accessed records. Throughout the process, Xerox partners with software vendors to provide a document management solution with electronic forms and workflows, works with Trust and Xerox staff to manage and improve on-site records management, deploys hardware and software for document capture and digitisation, and partners with paper storage organisations to ensure excellent local off-site records.
Xerox’s Health Records Automation, a key enabler of the service, won Health Tech Digital’s Best Innovation project of the year award in October 2020.
Timeline for Transformation Process
This project began before the pandemic hit, but its time frame was rapidly accelerated in light of the virus. The Paediatrics department at Bedford Hospital went live first, in September 2020, giving outpatient clinics access to digital records. Rollout will continue across other departments over the next nine to 12 months as demand for virtual appointments increases. After that, and for the duration of the contract, Xerox will continue to manage the digitised records system.
And physicians, nurses and other caregivers will spend less time updating documentation and more time helping their patients, whether in person or virtually.
Josh Chandler, Associate Director of IT at Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS FT, will be continuing the discussion around transforming the patient experience by digitising medical records at the upcoming HETT Reset event, which takes place 8–12 February.