Barnsley Hospital’s A & E department selects a FileStream EDMS & Kodak solution to underpin move to electronic records
- Access to records and security of information vastly improve
- Space in A & E department now used for an expanded children’s area not storage
Serving a rural and urban population of around 250,000 people, Barnsley Hospital’s A & E department has a clinical staff of seven consultants, 18 doctors and around 50 nurses who provide emergency medical care 24/7, seeing on average 200 people per day.
A huge volume of paper is generated as a result which was causing the department issues in terms of storage, management, and then subsequent access to information. Records were kept in department for 6 months, then moved to a basement area for a year and ultimately transferred to a remote and inaccessible area of the hospital – nicknamed ‘The Bunker’ – for long-term 5 year storage.
Dr Dyfrig Hughes, project leader, explains, “The longer records are in storage, the harder they are to find as each movement increases the chances of files getting mislaid. Something only needs to be slightly misfiled for it to become a really time consuming effort to later source. Secretaries were traipsing to-and-fro to get emergency cards which clearly isn’t productive or efficient.”
Each time a person visits A & E an emergency department record is produced – a document containing 5 or 6 sheets of A4 which lists the patient’s name and address, demographic information, a summary of the treatment provided, along with a letter to the GP which summarises the problem and care given. With the high volume of people treated annually, the department was sinking under paper, while also consuming a lot of precious space which could be better utilised for clinical care.
Dr Hughes adds, “Accessing records is important especially when treating children’s illness as the past medical history is important, and we often need records for legal purposes when we have to support the Police with their inquiries. With the old paper-based system, we just weren’t able to access information quickly or easily.”
The A & E department first considered scanning emergency records some years ago, but it was a small flood in 2008 in the storage area which tipped the balance and the Trust recognised it needed to implement an alternative computer-based solution.
Ascot Solutions stepped in, supplied a FileStream EDMS solution and a Kodak i1320Plus departmental scanner for use in the reception area. Mark Ingram, Ascot’s managing director, says, “Barnsley Hospital took a package from us. Kodak scanners were recommended because of their reputation for reliability, and ability to integrate and work faultlessly with FileStream.”
The FileStream EDMS has also improved the integrity and security of the emergency record. Urine tests, blood results and heart tracings are all produced using different pieces of coloured paper. Everything is now scanned and incorporated in the electronic file thus avoiding any possibility that paper could go astray.
Accessible to authorised A & E medical staff, searching for information is now a breeze and can be done on date of birth, date of attendance, GP, gender, emergency department number and so on. The new system allows doctors to email documents to each other if required and offers instant access to information on patients. Dr Hughes explains, “If I am on a ward, I can call up the notes on a patient who came into A & E the previous day without the need to find the physical records or ring down to secretaries to ask them to find or copy them.”
In addition, a lot of time and effort managing emergency cards is saved, with the storage space in the department freed to make room for an expanded children’s area in A & E.
Neil Murphy, Kodak’s UK sales manager for document imaging, says, “For a relatively modest investment, Barnsley Hospital has installed a simple-to-use yet robust departmental solution in A & E which does away with paper and means staff can focus on helping critically ill patients get better rather than wasting time managing an unmanageable paper process.”