The need for a dominant force to assist NHS in digital conversion is crystal clear! Read more on how OPEX is leading the charge.

The road to a paperless NHS has not been a smooth ride to date and the end, it seems, is not yet in sight! In 2013 Jeremy Hunt (Secretary of State for Health and Social Care) first set the objective for the NHS to become paperless by 2018, a target later extended to 2020. In September 2016, the review of NHS IT by Dr Robert Wachter said paperless by 2018 would not be possible and suggested 2023 be set as a more realistic target. In more recent weeks “Digital Health Intelligence’s report” predicts that more cautious estimate is sensible, with a 2027 timeline seeming more likely for a paperless system.

One of the major challenges with paper records is that they can only be in one place and seen by one set of eyes at any given time. Mr. Hunt described a scenario where a doctor prescribed medication incorrectly as the patient’s notes were lost and there were no available copies. He added that more often than not, people have to repeat their medical histories to different people because healthcare professionals don’t have instant access to these files. Digitising patient records would solve many of these problems: Scanning archives of paper documents into a hospitals document management system would mean an individual’s full medical history would be available at the touch of a button. However, the process must be done correctly in order to keep the data secure and minimise the risk of a breach. Certain controls must be employed to ensure the records are correctly governed and the Data Protection Act must be adhered to at all times.

In addition to improving patient experience and increasing governance there is also the potential to save the NHS millions of pounds on the cost of storing and moving paper around the system. The estimated annual cost of paper storage is between £500,000 and £1million for each Trust – money which could be reinvested in the hospitals themselves. With 206 trusts UK wide, this number, as a minimum could save over £100 million each year offering essential resources to a service looking after over 60 million people.

Of course digitising this paper mountain is no simple task and historically would have required a physical footprint the size of an aircraft hangar, the employment of a small army of additional staff to work through the labour intensive document ‘prep’ process in advance of the arduous task of trying to image these records using expensive hi-speed document scanners not originally designed to handle aged, damaged and stapled content. Not an ideal scenario!

OPEX is fast becoming the dominant force in digital conversion of hard copy patient files within the complex arena of scanning NHS medical records, seeing the key UK service providers selecting OPEX Falcon as the scanner of choice for capturing patient files. NHS hospitals themselves also realise the labour saving benefits achieved through the Falcon, as over 25 trusts and health boards already adopting the OPEX model as their preferred solution, principally to help them process ‘day forward’ physical medical notes utilising the Trust’s own in-house records management staff. By creating a unique solution that’s significantly different to all other hardware manufacturers in this space, OPEX have identified and solved the key issues surrounding this monumental task faced by an already overstretched NHS.

Paul Keefe, OPEX UK/ROI Sales Manager says, “OPEXs hardware offerings have always aimed to significantly save labour costs within a scanning process, but the benefits we bring to the conversion of NHS patient records goes far beyond that. We have seen our market share grow year on year in this space not only in new projects but also replacing traditional scanning processes within trusts looking to make a financial saving and I believe that really tells a story. As the deadline for a paperless NHS moves ever closer we are still investing in developing OPEX technologies in this area, whilst our competitors seem to be moving away to a more software only focused model.”

For a demonstration of the OPEX Falcon™ and a discussion on how investing in OPEX could save your organisation significant processing time, along with operating costs, please contact Paul Keefe.

Tel: 
07764 205480

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