As the NHS continues on its journey towards becoming a paperless organisation by 2018, a new initiative is helping keep medical records secure and free from paper.
Pearl Scan Solutions is playing a significant role in assisting GP surgeries, health trusts and hospital departments with the implementation of electronic storage systems.
This is a particularly important programme for the NHS, as it is estimated by the government that the cost of physical paper storage is somewhere in the region of £500,000 and £1 million per year for each healthcare trust.
As part of its arrangement with Pearl Scan Solutions, every patient in the NHS will be provided with a barcode in order to streamline operations in the healthcare service.
It is also suggested that NHS apps could be developed in the near future, which will enable people to book appointments and order prescriptions via their smartphones or other mobile devices.
Research has suggested that a fluent and intuitive digital system could help save the NHS millions of pounds every year.
Such an initiative would enable medication errors to be reduced, allow storage space to be generated, and ultimately save on both time and resources.
It is also thought that an NHS-wide revolution into digital storage systems could help cut down on administration errors and further improve data protection.
One recent such example of this came from a hospital in Essex. Goodmayes Hospital in Illford accidentally sent a patient’s entire personal medical record to another person via the post.
The patient in question was perturbed by the accidental leaking of sensitive information.
Speaking about the initiative with the NHS, Naveen Ashraf, managing director of Pearl Scan Solutions, pointing out that medical records can easily go awry in what is a pressurised environment.
“Medical records are strictly private and confidential, so this story highlights what can go wrong in busy NHS environments with an overworked workforce,” Ashraf stated.
Ashraf also took time to outline the benefits of a paperless office environment.
“Medical staff make mistakes too, they are only human – but by having a paperless NHS, we can further safeguard patients and ensure all medical records are safe and secure. They are also much more easily accessible, which will speed up treatment and generally improve care across the board,” Ashraf asserted.
As the NHS continues the transformation into the digital age, it is expected that hospitals, surgeries, dentists and other medical organisations will become much more efficient.
With pressure on NHS budgets, it was suggested by the existing Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, that paperless working within the NHS could save £4.4 billion.
Regardless of the validity of these claims, it is broadly accepted that paperless working is more efficient, and the NHS is indeed committed to instigating this form of operation.