NHS Dumfries and Galloway is deploying a new electronic document management system, starting with its mental health service next month.
The Scottish health board is using dartEDM software from Nottinghamshire company Plumtree Group.
The software will allow clinicians to quickly view and update patient records on computers across the health board area, which covers a population of more than 148,000 in south-west Scotland.
Plumtree won the contract with NHS Dumfries and Galloway in December 2011.
The new system will go-live next month in mental health services with two years’ worth of records available on 4,000-5,000 patients, said the health board's head of IM&T Graham Gault.
He hopes to have it live across the district general hospital by January next year with records going back one year.
“Our aim is to present clinicians with the information they require, when and where they require it, and to offer best care to patients,” Gault said.
The new system has been populated with discharge summaries and outpatient letters currently stored on a variety of systems.
The health board uses Cambric Systems' Topas electronic medical record. The two systems will be connected using a Carefx integration engine.
This means that historical information will be available to clinicians when they log in to see their clinic list.
“We’ve been spending the last couple of months working with them [Plumtree] on interfacing the new system with all the clinical applications,” Gault said. “Now we’re priming it with a whole lot of background data.”
He said doctors are excited about using the new system and its extra functionality.
The health board is also using the new software to go paper-lite when it replaces its main acute hospital, the Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary.
The board estimates there are about 20m legacy paper records that need to be scanned into the new system using Opex scanners.
This needs to be done before the new hospital opens in five years’ time as there will be no file room on the new site.
“So as a matter of urgency we have to get on with scanning all the documents,” Gault explained.
Ben Dorks, group director of Plumtree, said the new software will significantly reduce paper usage within the local NHS and is expected to have a return on investment within the year.
“The system we have set up has operational benefits in terms of cost, people, storage and logistics.
"There are improvements in efficiency, governance and audit, and clinicians can read the records with instant access online, in real time, at the point of need,” he said.
© 2012 EHealth Media.
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