In 2013, Barking, Havering & Redbridge University NHS Trust (BHRUT) was put under special measures by the Care Quality Commission (CQC). This was due, in part, to an outdated and labour-intensive health records model.
The system was no longer fit for purpose with 40% of records out of circulation at any one time. This resulted in frustration for both clinicians and patients.
With another CQC inspection looming, BHRUT knew they needed to make some real, tangible changes quickly.
The trust implemented a complete process change, replacing the management of records by terminal digit filing with a location-based system.
The IT-based transformational project introduced GS1 standards in line with the Department of Healthand Social Care’s eProcurement strategy. Case notes were tagged using RFID technology, meaning health records could be located in real time.
Training for 1,300 staff was carried out and the project was completed within budget in just five months.
"The new system is a user-friendly programme that all staff can use. The handheld scanners are easy to use and give quick results. The tracking sensors throughout the hospital follow the case notes’ journey through the building and pinpoints their location. A great improvement on the speed and accuracy of our previous system."
Since the introduction of the project, record filing is faster and more efficient. Before the implementation of the system, filing could be carried out at a rate of 35 files per hour – it is now up to 85 per hour.
The financial benefits are equally impressive. A feasibility report carried out after implementation predicted a return on investment of £2.4m, with 84% of this realised in the first year.
It has had a positive impact on both staff and patients because records are now available when and where they are needed.
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