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Big NHS savings from electronic patient records

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An NHS trust is on track to save £225,000 a year with electronic patient record system.

North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust is one of the latest medical organisations to switch from paper-based to electronic patient records (EPR). Paper-based systems are still in use in many NHS organisations.

These systems can be complex and, in some cases, dangerous.

For example, in medicines management, handwritten documentation has been notorious for medication errors.

This can be due to things as simple as misinterpreting the doctor’s handwriting.

Gary Mooney, healthcare solution manager at InterSystems says: “The therapeutic complexity of modern medicines, combined with the service demands and pressures of an acute care facility in the NHS really makes paper-based medicine systems unfit for purpose in modern health care.

“The TrakCare system is able to alert clinicians when patients are due their medicines. This means doctors and nurses can focus on the patients that require those medicines rather than go around the ward and check the piece of paper at the end of every patient’s bed.

“It improves the communication and improves the workflow, which means there are considerable time savings on the drug administration rounds which the nursing staff can invest back into direct patient care.”

By automating the process of collecting patient observations and delivering them to nurses and clinicians via InterSystems TrakCare, the Trust says it is on track to save around 20,000 hours of nursing time per year and reduce costs associated with patient records by as much as £225,000 a year.

They have also seen an approximate 80% reduction in missed and late doses.

By implementing InterSystems TrakCare electronic patient observations this year, the trust has automated observations and made them accessible in a single point of view from anywhere within the hospital or care setting. The Trust says this has helped significantly improve the speed and accuracy of decision making.

The system also automatically calculates early warning scores; a metric used by nurses and doctors to assess whether a patient is deteriorating. When the metric passes a certain threshold, the system triggers emergency intervention.

Mooney says: “North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Trust is a great example of a really successful EPR deployment. Deploying an EPR is not about the technology, and it’s not about installing software. These are facilitators for what the organisation is trying to achieve.

“At the trust, what they are trying to achieve is a digital transformation process. They’re looking to make improvements in how they manage clinical care: the effectiveness, safety and timeliness of the care that they deliver.

“They are focused on how they can improve the services that they provide, in order to get better outcomes and better experiences for patients, while supporting clinical and operational staff in their roles.

“It has been really refreshing working with a customer with such dedication to that, from an executive level right through to the frontline nursing staff. This focus has really informed how they’ve gone about deploying TrakCare.”

North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Trust used an incremental deployment model and now has the medicines management capabilities within TrakCare installed across all of their clinical areas.

EDI, outpatient, inpatient and specialist areas, such as the neonatal intensive care unit, paediatric facilities are now all prescribing and administering medicines electronically.

TrakCare sits on Intersytem’s ‘Iris for Health’; a large-scale database platform with AI, machine learning, integration and interoperability capabilities.

The system is designed to bring together and consolidate the array of different source systems installed across healthcare organisations, both regions and nationally.

Mooney says: “TrakCare handles all aspects of acute care from patient administration and operational management, to the fiscal revenue cycle management associated with the running of a health care service, right the way through to the clinical requirements.”

TrakCare is currently deployed internationally and across the UK, including a recently renewed ten-year contract with NHS Scotland.

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