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Pearl Document Scanning Blog

News and updates related to the document scanning industry.

Could bulk patient record digitisation kick-start better digital practices in healthcare?

Back in 2013, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt set the NHS the target of achieving a paperless operation by 2018. This was one of the many ambitious plans for improvement of the service within the Five Year Forward View. However, with only one year left to reach this target, ‘paperless’ is still not the standard procedure within the sector, making the realistic date of completion seem much further away. Amid reports of resistance for patient record scanning and other electronic processes, could bulk patient record digitisation kick-start better digital practices in healthcare?

A Care Quality Commission Report on a London-based hospital noted poor use of its electronic patient record system, resulting in missing and out-dated patient information. With this being just one of many examples of other hospitals and surgeries across the country that fail to embrace the move to paperless, a new approach is needed to stay on track for the 2018 target. Embarking on mass medical record scanning services could be the push the sector needs, acting as the first step towards implementing better practices in the future.

Naveed Ashraf, Managing Director at Pearl Scan agrees that this kind of action is needed. He revealed, “Switching over to any new way of working is never easy, especially in an organisation like the NHS which is so large and complex. In order to keep the entire company at the same level, they must give it the framework it needs to build upon itself, rather than watching different institutions progress at different rates – which is exactly what is happening.

“To start, investing in a large-scale, outsourced bulk medical record and document scanning service is essential to quickly and effectively digitise all existing patient records. Once the initial, laborious work has been done, it will be easy to follow on from that and maintain these digital practices.”

Once in place, a paperless NHS is thought to be able to save the healthcare organisation billions. While this initial statement was made four years ago, the need for such savings remains critical in order to sustain its services, making support of this digital drive imperative. 

Digitising patient records could help improve the NHS’ finances

The NHS has long been under the spotlight for its dire finances. However the Department of Health’s annual report has highlighted just how bad its financial situation is. The report confirmed it had diverted almost £1bn away from investment in order to balance its budget, and now comes complete with an amber-light warning from the spending watchdog.

The NHS spends over a £100bn every year, and that number is rising sharply every year. However according to Pearl Scan, one of the country’s premier providers of document scanning solutions, the NHS can save significant amounts of money by making a couple of simple changes.

According to the scanning experts, switching to digital means could help to save the NHS millions of pounds ever year, which could go a long way in helping it to ‘balance to books’. Noting the cost benefits of digital processes, Naveed Ashraf, Managing Director at Pearl Scan Group said, “The NHS is under incredible amounts of pressure to hit targets and reduce costs. Yet as more patients head through its doors every day, that is becoming increasingly more difficult. By switching to digital means, staff can save time looking for misplaced notes, files and paperwork, while cutting down on the costs associated with purchasing millions of sheets of paper every single day.”

Making the switch to digital has brought a plethora of benefits to businesses of all sizes. Helping to streamline services and improve productivity while improving staff morale and significantly cutting costs, digitalisation has revolutionised the way many do business.

And how digitalisation can help the NHS was highlighted earlier in the year when the government launched a drive to improve the use of technology in the NHS in England. Aimed at creating a paperless service by 2020, the move was powered by the desire to create a more convenient service for patients, while helping doctors to provide faster diagnoses. However just six months on, this is now looking like a long way off.


Naveed Ashraf, Managing Director at Pearl Scan Group added, “The NHS really needs backing in order to make the push towards a digital service. It is in serious need of a lift, and the government must help it out in order to secure its future.”


The Need to Commit to Data Scanning

 The Need to Commit to Data Scanning

The Need to Commit to Data Scanning

In February 2016, the government set aside £4bn for the NHS. This was to be used to launch the drive towards a totally paperless NHS, removing out-dated technology and helping towards newly developed virtual document management systems.

Many trusts are making steps in order to help towards the target set of achieving a totally paperless NHS in 2018, however some trusts are facing difficulties and have halted plans to scan their library of paper documentation. The Heart of England NHS Trust foundation in Birmingham has stopped their digitisation processes and has reverted back to using paper notes, stating problems with the speed of accessing the digital version of patient records.

In the long run, the drive towards a paperless NHS is a move, which can ultimately save time and the lives of the British public. The lack of data sharing between NHS organisations has been a long-standing problem, which could get solved as we move closer the NHS envisioned for 2018. By scanning in patient records and creating a digitised database, a patient’s medical history could be accessed by any medical member of staff, whenever or wherever they need it. If an ambulance arrives on a scene to take a patient to hospital, being able to have immediate access to data gathered by a GP on a persons prescribed medication and healthcare history could help to inform future decision faster, saving time and lives. Photographs and X-rays can also be scanned, creating a full overview of a patient’s medical history to be used by Hospitals and GP surgeries alike.

Creating a paperless NHS would also look to benefit the public externally, with plans for patient records being available online for those who wish to see them too.

With such a large amount of physical documentation being gathered by the NHS, and more accumulating every day it comes as no surprise that, as is the case with the Heart of England Trust, issues with speeds of scanning and accessing the information prove to be a significant challenge to be faced. However, in light of this, other trusts finding it difficult to keep up with the targets set are urged to continue their efforts, in order to help towards the overall larger goal.

At Pearl Scan, we have been working closely with the medical sector for over 10 years, providing our range of document scanning and storage solutions to both NHS departments and private healthcare trusts. We can collect all folders to be scanned on the same or next day from any institution within mainland UK, and offer a speedy digitisation service. With our years on experience in this sector, we understand the importance of maintaining quality data protection and security policies. Get in touch with a member of team at Pearl Scan today, to see how they can help to implement the important move to a paperless NHS.

NHS Set to Remotely Monitor Patients

medical document scanning

The National Health Service is on the brink of a digital revolution, as a number of procedures are being put in place in digitise services and improve care across the board. Currently, junior doctors spend 70% of their day doing admin – proposals such as making hospitals free Wifi zones, creating a paperless NHS and remotely monitoring patients would free up doctors’ time so they could spend more time with patients.

Around 97% of GP surgeries allow patients to book appointments online and view parts of their medical record – new plans will allow people to view their entire medical record by 2018. A third of all ambulances are sharing records digitally with A&E doctors, speeding up access to critical information. Procedures such as this are steadily improving the quality of care, and a move towards a more digital NHS should prepare the organisation for the growing pressure of an ageing population on health and care services.

Within five years, patients will be able to log in and speak to their GP via a videolink and order prescriptions online. Last month the digital revolution plans expanded into the realm of remote patient monitoring, which would be possible with the use of high-tech clothing and gadgets. People with long term illnesses such as asthma, heart disease and diabetes could be constantly monitored remotely rather than in a hospital bed. In addition to wearable technology, patients and doctors could also use smartphone apps to update data directly to medical records.

Proposals such as these could free up hospital beds and give patients a better quality of life knowing they are still being looked after by a professional. Remote monitoring is just one of the plans the NHS are getting to roll out as part of its digital revolution. However, for ambitious plans like this to work they will need to rely heavily on technology and instant access to medical records and files.

By 2018 the NHS aims to be completely paperless, which has a number of advantages. It will free up resources and provide instant access to records when needed – sharing information between doctors, nurses and other NHS staff will also be much easier. By scanning medical records and making all files digital, the NHS will be keeping up with modern business operations and ensuring it keeps its reputation as one of the world’s most advanced public healthcare systems. Going digital is also expected to save the NHS £5 billion over the next decade, if the other reasons weren’t enough motivation!

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Patient Online- Digital Records Scheme

medical scanning banner1
A new scheme from NHS England involving the digitisation of patient records promises to benefits both patients and healthcare organisations across the country.

According to the official definition, Patient Online is

“an NHS England programme designed to support GP practices to offer and promote online services to patients, including access to records, online appointment booking and online repeat prescriptions.”

This program has come about as a result of the digitisation of patients’ records to make it possible for them to be viewed in that online format. While a great deal of services are already offered digitally such as online appointments and prescription ordering, it is hoped that by this coming month (April, 2015) patient records will be fully digitised.

Advantages of Medical Record Scanningview medical records online

  • Access- Patients will be able to access their GP records from any device with access to the internet at any time.
  • Time- As a result of patients being able to directly access their records online, there will be a significant amount of pressure released from GP surgeries leaving them time to deal with necessary appointments.
  • Security- Despite the increased access, patients don’t have to worry about the security of their data because digital files offer a great deal more security than their paper counterparts.

What Does This Mean For The Healthcare Sector?

With the right system in place, this new scheme could bring some major benefits for patients and the healthcare sector as a whole. According to this NHS England video there has been no negative feedback so far from the digital switch so everything is on course to boost the reputation of healthcare services without compromising on patient care.

What do you think about the digital record scanning? Can it improve the healthcare system in your area?

Services to Scan Medical Records

Here at Pearl Scan, we are dedicated to helping healthcare organisations benefit from implementing digital records management. Our medical record scanning service has been trusted by a large number of reputable companies in London, Manchester, Birmingham and across the UK and we offer a secure nationwide collection service so, regardless of your location, we can help.

We provide a fully bespoke scanning service as well as optional OCR processing and also the use of our specially designed document retrieval software, Halogen or you can store patient records in our secure cloud platform, Pearl Cloud. If you are interested in finding out more, give us a call to discuss your requirements.

Check out these related articles too:
Patient Data Security Improves with Medical Record Scanning
Digital Records Management for the Healthcare Sector
Increase Efficiency and Productivity By Scanning X-Rays
Paperless NHS by 2018