One in ten NHS Trusts are fully digitised, despite plans for a paperless NHS

One in ten NHS Trusts are fully digitised, despite plans for a paperless NHS
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Majority of NHS Trusts are yet to fully embrace digital patient records, as New FoI data reveals there is still progress to be made despite government guidelines for a paperless NHS.

Research from OpenText has revealed only one in ten (12%) of NHS Trusts are fully digitised, despite the Government’s plans for a Paperless NHS by 2020. This new data was obtained from a Freedom of Information (FoI) request, issued to 74 NHS Trusts across the UK, with 52 responding.

Striving towards a paperless NHS

In January 2019, the UK government announced its new NHS Long Term Plan to address the healthcare system’s lack of interoperability, aiming to improve the quality of patient care and healthcare outcomes in the UK. The plan requires all secondary healthcare providers to transition to digital records by 2023, ensuring clinicians can access and interact with patient records and care plans wherever they are.

Despite these guidelines, the figures released today indicate there is still progress to be made – with just 37% of responding Trusts stating that over half of their patient records are currently in a digital format. In fact, only one in five (23%) of NHS Trusts confirmed that 76% – 99% of patient records, i.e. scans, letters, notes and results, are currently digitised.

Investment in change

Encouragingly, the new data revealed that 62% of Trusts have plans to digitise all patient records – with 12% already fully digitised and a further 21% aiming to become fully digitised within the next one to two years.

In addition, one in five (21%) of Trusts are planning to become paperless within the next three to four years, in accordance with the new Government guidelines. Only 12% of those surveyed have no plans to digitise all patient records. To support this move to digital, 85% of Trusts are currently providing staff members with training in how to better manage digitised patient records.

“Ultimate goal is to empower healthcare organisations”

Tracey Lethbridge, head of UK public sector at OpenText, said: “Virtually every aspect of modern life has been radically reshaped by innovation and technology. Yet, in the UK, the delivery of healthcare remains locked into a service model created when the NHS was founded more than 70 years ago.”

“With new Government guidelines in place, the ultimate goal is to empower healthcare organisations to evolve working practices and provide better patient care whilst reducing costs. One way to achieve this is to take a digital approach to information management.

Through the creation of a ‘one patient, one record’ environment, NHS clinicians can easily access the necessary information – regardless of where it is and in what form – to more effectively commission and monitor services that reflect the needs of patients.

“Ultimately, accurate and timely patient data is at the heart of delivering quality care and will ensure all front-line care staff can access this information where and when it is needed, boosting their productivity and enabling them to help more patients, more quickly.”

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