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Only 25% of NHS Trusts are Fully Digital

Feb 13, 2024

Did you know that only a quarter of NHS Trusts are fully digital, despite 88% having access to digital systems?

A recent BMJ survey found that of the 182 trusts in England, most are still reliant on paper patient notes and drug charts.

Of the 182 trusts that responded, four percent (seven trusts) admitted that they only use paper notes, while 71 percent (130 trusts) use both paper and an electronic patient records (EPR) system.

NHS Trusts Failed to Meet the 2024 Target

A 2023 report from the Health and Social Care Committee warned that parts of the NHS “lack the most basic, functioning IT equipment” and progress on digitising the health service has been “slow and uneven”.

The House of Commons committee concluded that the UK government had failed to meet a key target to eliminate paper prescribing in hospitals and to introduce digital or electronic prescribing across the entire NHS by 2024.

The BMJ states that under the NHS Long Term Plan, trusts are being challenged to achieve “a core level of digitisation by 2024” and to “accelerate the rollout of EPR systems and apps.”

A report published in 2023 by the government’s Infrastructure and Projects Authority downgraded its assessment of how likely the NHS was to hit its deadline for the rollout of EPRs.

Why Paper Patient Records are a Problem

Perhaps one of the most shocking statistics to come from the report was that one trust alone generates over 25 million pages of A4 each year!

Not only is this highly inefficient, it also increases the risk of GDPR breaches as the risk of loose pieces of paper containing patient records getting into the wrong hands significantly increases.

How NHS Trusts Can Meet their Target with DMS Document Workflow Solutions

At DMS, we create digital solutions that address all of the challenges and opportunities across public sector organisations. With places on the KCS Y21028 IT Hardware and KCS Y20003 Audio Visual Solutions frameworks, DMS is recognised as an approved, professional supplier for public sector organisations such as the NHS.

Through effective document workflow and cloud services, the NHS can lower costs, automate workflows, reduce their carbon footprint and improve their security and regulatory compliance when it comes to GDPR.

What is Document Workflow?

Document workflow is a management system used to capture, generate, track, edit, approve, store, retrieve, retain and destroy any documents that are associated with the business processes.

With so many businesses going paperless and trying to reduce their carbon footprint, digital document workflow can be a great asset. It also helps to reduce large amounts of paperwork which use staff resources and slow down the day-to-day operations.

Benefits of Document Workflow with DMS

How Can Document Workflow Save Time for Trusts?

One of the biggest savings made by implementing a document workflow management strategy is on time. Organisations that still operate using paper and outdated workflow methods can end up spending hours more each day doing large amounts of paperwork which use up staff resources and significantly slow down day-to day operations.

By making the process more efficient, you can boost staff productivity and save time by cutting out unnecessary menial tasks that can be managed digitally instead. This also leads to happier employees as they no longer have to carry out boring repetitive tasks.

How Can Document Workflow Help to Save Money?

A paperless trust is a cost-effective one. Not only can you save thousands of pounds each year by buying significantly less paper, but you’ll also make great savings by reducing the cost of document storage.

How Can Document Workflow Improve Collaboration Across a Trust?

Document workflow systems help to improve collaboration by being able to share documents with multiple users across the trust, meaning information can be accessed at any time, anywhere.

This also enables working from home more effectively too, as it allows teams to work seamlessly together without being in the same room.

How Can Document Workflow Help NHS Trusts to Comply with GDPR?

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a legal framework that sets guidelines for the collection and processing of personal information from individuals living in the EU.

To be compliant with the regulations, you’ll need a strong document workflow management system in place as the seven key principles are:

For the most part, this means you need a good reason to store someone’s data and should only store it for as long as is necessary on a secure database that can easily be edited to maintain accuracy.

With a document workflow system in place, you can better manage patient data in line with GDPR regulations thanks to the ability to retrieve, edit and delete information more easily.

“Delivery confidence is red [the lowest rating] as a number of NHS trusts are reporting they are unlikely to be able to fully implement an Electronic Patient Record by March 2025,” said the report.

Public Sector Digital Transformation with DMS

At DMS, we create digital solutions that address all of the challenges and opportunities across public sector organisations. Get in touch with our team of experts today to find out how we can help your organisation with its digital transformation.

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