Health records management is a resource intensive service for NHS and private healthcare organisations. It can add clinical risk if notes are unavailable for patient attendances and can be costly in terms of finance, productivity and reputation.
We work closely with NHS organisations to optimise their health records management. Recently, we scanned 55.2 million pages (circa 350,000 files) of patient notes for Aintree University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. Our experience, infrastructure and secure environment were ideal to help the Trust rationalise and better utilise space and resources. Whilst the process can be complex and presents multiple obstacles, optimising records can result in significant operational and cost savings for organisations.
Quicker access to patient records for authorised staff
We have extensive experience scanning health records and helping to refine the way we prepare files for scanning and indexing before returning them as images and data files. We transport, process, and return records securely and swiftly to give healthcare organisations instant access to their patient records. The result is effective ongoing health records management.
In collaboration with Aintree, we identified risks and agreed how these would be mitigated. We completed a site visit to audit the current document management processes and create a fact-based report and made subsequent suggestions. Additionally, our staff attended weekly meetings at Aintree to support the planning for service implementation. Our dedicated team supported with plans for staff training, recording and tracking records and answered Aintree’s questions and concerns.
By working closely with Aintree, we were able to understand the needs and risks that they faced and avoid any associated risks. Our relationship with Aintree continues to be built on mutual trust and respect.
We completed the Aintree project off-site via an initial bulk uplift and a subsequent daily pick-up of 2,000 records thereafter. Records were scanned within 24 hours using the very latest technology in both hardware and software so that the amount of time clinicians were without records was minimised.
Where a record was needed by clinicians whilst in our possession, a four hour service level agreement was in place to scan and digitise the document and send it back to the hospital, mitigating unnecessary delays to hospital staff and patients.
After records are scanned they are kept for a period specified by Aintree, before we securely destroy them. One of the core challenges overcome was ensuring a smooth procedure for ad-hoc deliveries of files from our facility to the hospital when they were needed urgently.
We continue to scan records that are generated on a daily basis to patient records and indexed to the electronic patient record. This equates to an additional 5.1m pages per annum. A 24- hour turnaround service is in place to scan the additional records, ensuring clinicians have fully updated electronic records within a matter of hours.
Benefits of our service
- Business efficiency increased - the closure of the medical records department released significant savings and allowed staff to be redeployed into other areas of the organisation.
- Reduced costs - less budget spent on storing and managing physical archives. Retrieving files from third party archive businesses can cost as much as £20 per retrieval.
- More space - with no requirement for the physical storage of their paper records Aintree was able to release land for redevelopment and expansion.
- Accurate information reduces risk - as digitised files are now indexed, they are available to clinics, other practitioners, and multiple users in cases involving multiple clinics, making clinical risks as low as possible.
Key outcomes for Aintree University Hospital
- Patient records are accessed instantly by authorised staff.
- Fully searchable medical information available 24/7.
- Increased patient safety.
- Reduced waste of storage space and resources.