Two IT companies have worked with the NHS Perinatal Institute to create a digitised version of its pregnancy notes, for which information can be captured using digital pens.
Data capture specialist Ubisys and digital pen and paper company Anoto worked with the Midlands-based institute on the E-Preginfo system, which has already been trialled by six maternity units in the West Midlands.
South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust has had two trials of the system and midwife Inger Southorn, told eHealth Insider she was very impressed.
“One of the big differences is that when [the notes are] paper based, we have to write all the information on lots of different forms. The idea is that now you just have to enter the patient’s info once.”
Southorn added that even while the system had taken some getting used to, it was delivering results. “It’s using less paper and we spend less time manually entering data, which means more time spent with the patient.
“In the NHS there is always a battle with the scepticism we have for any new technology. This is different, if people really got into it, it could save a lot of time and improve patient care.”
The Perinatal Institute was set up in April 2000 with a remit to address the high rate of death and illness following childbirth in the Midlands.
It carries out research, advises on services, and pushes for improvements in training to tackle known and avoidable causes of perinatal mortality and morbidity.
Its pregnancy notes form a core maternity data set that can be used to plan and improve maternity services, as well as meeting national data requirements. The institute says the notes are used for around 50% of births in the UK.
The new E-Preginfo system digitises the notes and allows information to be captured on them using digital pens. It links to trust maternity information systems, so midwives can create an instant electronic record, while still holding a paper document.
Professor Jason Gardosi, director at the Perinatal Institute, said: “E-Preginfo offers a quality assured, cost effective solution that captures community data accurately and in real time whilst also improving clinician efficiency.”
When a midwife is out on community visits, she can take notes with the pen which can then be linked to the trust’s maternity information system, via a docking station or a mobile phone.
Professor Gardosi added: “The solution will offer considerable savings – potentially £24 of clinical time per pregnancy, which with 680,000 births across the UK annually amounts to a potential saving to the health service of £16m per annum.”
Prime minister David Cameron announced earlier this month that he will give £100m in funding for nurses and midwives to spend on new mobile technology, such as digital pens.
© 2012 EHealth Media.
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