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Over 1 million electronic patient letters sent by NHS Trust

PCTI Solutions : 24 February, 2014  (Application Story)
NHS Trust covering Coventry and Warwickshire has reached the 1 million milestone for electronic patient letters using Docman
Over 1 million electronic patient letters sent by NHS Trust

University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust (UHCW) has utilised Docman’s electronic document transfer solution Docman Hub to send over 1 million patient letters electronically to GP Practices.

The Trust reports a saving of around 50 pence for each patient letter sent electronically, with further additional time savings both for the Trust and Primary Care by removing the processes of handling paper.

The Trust has 16 document sources connected to the Hub enabling patient letters to be sent to the neighbouring 155 practices electronically, securely and in real time. Previously patient letters were sent by paper to practices, resulting in a time consuming and costly process.

UHCW sends over 40,000 patient letters electronically each month to local practices and covers a population of over 1 million across Coventry and Warwickshire. The correspondence being sent electronically covers a wide range of areas but includes clinical letters, ad-hoc letters, inpatient admission and inpatient discharge (eDischarge) information.

Westside Medical Centre in Rugby was the recipient of the 1 millionth electronic letter sent through the Hub into Docman GP, the practices’ electronic document management and workflow solution. The practice serves a patient list in excess of 10,000.

Mark Walker, Clinical Results Reporting System Manager, University Hospitals Coventry & Warwickshire NHS Trust said: “UHCW sends patient letters in real time to GP practices. Our previous process was to send paper letters to our GP colleagues; this was a costly and time consuming method. We estimate the paper process cost us around 50 pence for each letter and then there are the additional time costs involved in handling paper.”

“155 Practices are receiving these letters electronically and practices are set-up to receive them into Docman GP for filing and onward workflow every couple of hours. This electronic process enables us to know when each patient letter was sent and when it was received by the practice. If a patient is no longer at the practice then the document can be easily rejected and sent back to us to manage, whereas a paper process this would be time consuming to complete.”

Robin Arnold, Director of ICT for UHCW said: “As a public organisation we are keen to use technology to give the patients we serve the best care we can.  Docman is an efficient and speedy solution.  Its implementation means that not only are we providing GPs with information in the fastest possible time but we are removing errors that are traditionally associated with paper-based systems.”

Docman Hub is utilised by 100 NHS Trusts to send patient letters electronically. The solution captures documents from Secondary Care systems and distributes them to any GP practice. Documents that arrive into Docman at a GP Practice include ‘meta-data’ (patient and document information) to auto-file the document, providing further automation and minimal user intervention to improve data quality and save practices time. Documents then enter into a workflow instantaneously to GPs and ensure systems are completely up-to-date with all patient episodes providing a knowledgeable and informed service to patients.

The team at the medical centre agree and here are some of the thoughts from their key staff:

Dr John Derrick, Westside Medical Centre “Docman is great, our processes are now secure, there is no loss of paper and no waiting for information. We were early adopters of Docman years ago and our practice love it. Docman has become an integral part of our surgery. We used to waste so much time looking for documents in inboxes, now our processes are much quicker, information is workflowed around the practice for review, comment or action. The process is streamlined and is essential for an efficient way of working. Receiving letters electronically adds to this, letters are with us days before the post and information is on hand for when it is needed.”

Dr Mark Lindsey, Westside Medical Centre “Docman has made a difference to all of our patients in general. The ability for us to receive information from UHCW quickly provides better care and more efficient services. As a practice we want to receive even more letters electronically from more services. Docman has enabled our practice to benefit by removing paper and going electronic, the solution is central to supporting our surgery deliver for our patients.”

Kellie Bayliss, Reception Manager, Westside Medical Centre “We are now not seeing a backlog of letters to process. By receiving letters electronically it is a fast, secure way to ensure we have early access to patient letters.”

Graham Oldershaw, Practice Manager, Westside Medical Centre “When I first came in to healthcare I was staggered by the amount of paper. Paper is so inefficient, so an electronic way of working with Docman has been the way forward for us to work efficiently and effectively to deliver our high standards of healthcare.

Ric Thompson, Managing Director, Docman “We are delighted Docman Hub has supported University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust to transfer electronic documents to GPs and eliminate the printing of half a million letters a year.

“It is fantastic to see that UHCW has sent over 1 million documents with an average of sending over 40,000 electronic documents per month. This achievement has generated significant benefits for the Trust, General Practice and Patients by delivering information to the point of care in an efficient and timely manner.”

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