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4 benefits of using document services in healthcare

We explore four benefits of moving to digital and employing document services for your Trust.

With increasing pressure on healthcare trusts to reduce costs across their service, identifying how and where this can be achieved is important. Having worked closely with NHS and Healthcare Trusts, as well as local government authorities, we know paper record storage and administration is one such area where substantial savings can be made.

We explore four benefits of moving to digital and employing document services for your Trust.

[1] Reduce the need for physical storage space

With a staff of 38,000 and serving 1.2 million people, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC) is the largest Health Board in the UK. With so many under the Trust’s care, there is a large problem with the volume and security of sensitive patient records.

To tackle this issue NHSGGC opted to invest in a digital solution with us, digitising historic patient records to free up space, improve data security and reduce the cost of paper storage. The aims of this project, by the end of 2019 are for:

  • 85 GP practices, under the Trust, to have undergone the digitisation process
  • over 500,000 paper records to have been turned into electronic patient records
  • (the equivalent of) 25,000 boxes of paper records having been scanned and securely destroyed

According to Stephanie McKinnon, a Practice Manager for one of the medical centres under the Trust:

By digitising around 220 boxes of records from 7,000 patients we’ve freed up enough space to create an additional office and a consulting room. It’s delivered a better working environment for staff and patients and enabled us to work towards becoming a training practice.

In reducing their need for physical storage space, NHSGGC is able to save money, implement beneficial plans and ultimately look to provide a better service for patients.

[2] Save on storage costs

Back in 2015, NHS England predicted each Trust was spending between £500,000 and £1 million annually on paper storage alone. When you take into account there are over 200 registered NHS Trusts across England, as well as 14 in Scotland; seven in Wales; and six in Northern Ireland, that is a staggering £100 million (minimum) that could be spent elsewhere every year.

By investing sooner, rather than later, in document management you will be able to redirect this cost to greater avenues – such as more doctors and nurses – and benefit your Trust and your patients.

[3] Spend less time searching for misfiled records

Misfiled records are a common issue for many Trusts, one that collectively amounts to a huge amount of time spent trying to locate them (particularly those that rely on paper records). 

Take the example from Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust (CHFT) who, recognising a large need to go ‘paper-lite’, invested with us to deliver better outpatient services and save money. Introducing an electronic patient management solution to their outpatients’ clinic meant the Trust was able to make significant savings.

The solution, as outlined by Katherine Fletcher, General Manager, Outpatients & Records at CHFT, meant: 

Medical and nursing staff now have immediate access to an electronic patient record at the point of care, and records can be viewed by clinicians concurrently from any location within the hospital group.

By digitising 68 million images and patient records, significant time (and money) was saved in locating and delivering case notes.

[4] Link into all major electronic patient record systems

Being able to bring together every patient record system is essential. This offers easy, universal access for all stakeholders within your Trust, regardless of whether they are based in a hospital, GP surgery, clinic, therapists, remotely, or anywhere else. Not only this but, looking at the wider picture, being able to link historic paper records to all major electronic patient record systems enables better healthcare across the entire nation, opening the possibility of cross-Trust access of records for all.

Document management software can be the enabler for Trusts to drive efficiency through everything they do, automating the lifecycle of patient records, documents, forms, emails, and more. It means every piece of information is easier to store, route, annotate and share. If you haven’t digitised your patient records as of yet, get in touch.


Find out more about our EDMS, Scanning and Digital Mailroom services.