Typically the majority of correspondence between hospitals and GP’s is paper, with over 10 million items being sent each year. Not only is this costly compared to electronic communication, it is very slow and has no audit tracking.
Improving the way patient letters are managed is not a new venture for NHSScotland. A number of years ago, they had the foresight to provide all GP’s with a sophisticated Electronic Document Management and Workflow tool [Docman] for managing the large volumes of paper patient letters received from hospitals every day. By using this technology in association with nationally agreed document standards, the way in which GP’s manage clinical letters has been transformed.
The addition of this National Hub will provide NHSScotland with a state of the art system that will ultimately improve patient care, allow same day electronic letter delivery, provide important audit information and remove the high costs associated with paper.
Andy Robertson, Director at NHS National Services Scotland’s National Information Systems Group said: “We are always looking at how new technology can improve the way we do things across Scotland. Docman was rolled out about 7 years ago and has been a real success. EDT Hub is a natural progression, providing an end-to-end solution to manage electronic correspondence between hospitals and GP’s.
Dr Beena Raschkes, GP & Joint Clinical IT Lead NHS Tayside said: ”We were one of the first sites to start using EDT Hub and have also been using Docman for six or seven years. The Hub has meant that I can get access to patients’ hospital letters hours after their hospital appointment which means there is no more time wasted with my patient consultation due to me not having the right information. Also, through the audit trail, we can now be sure that the right patient information is getting to the right place at the right time.”
The solution transfers all letters over the NHS secure network straight into Docman’s electronic workflow, where healthcare professionals can use automation tools to gain faster access to critical patient information, ultimately increasing the whole patient experience.
Ric Thompson, MD, PCTI Solutions, “We are delighted with NHS Scotland’s decision to deploy EDT Hub across all Health Boards in Scotland. Through Microtech our partner, we expect to have rolled out the Hub to over half of the Health Boards by the end of the year where the benefits will really start to kick in. Our agreement is for there to be in excess of 40 million electronic documents to be sent within the next four years. The overall benefits to patients, clinicians and administrators will be huge. Just in terms of cost savings, it is widely understood that an average letter costs the NHS about £1 each including staff time, production and delivery costs, so the business case for switching off the paper is extremely compelling.”
Patients on the receiving end of this technology have quoted: “Unfortunately I am a regular user of the NHS and there have been numerous occasions where I have been discharged from hospital, turned up at my doctors’ surgery only to find that the letters and doctors notes have not come through. Since they moved to the new system, I can leave hospital at 10am, arrive at my surgery by 3pm and sit down with my GP who has received all the various notes from the hospital. In the past I have waited up to three weeks before I was able to see my GP for a follow up, due to not having the information back from the hospital.”
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PCTI is a market leading supplier of Electronic Document Management, workflow and Messaging software to the Healthcare sector. The company provides solutions into both primary and secondary care with more than 5500 GP practices processing nearly 3 million physical and electronic documents per week and holds detailed records for over 20 million patients. EDT Hub is used in over 40 Secondary Care settings within the UK.
About NHS National Services Scotland
NISG is a division of NHS National Services Scotland (NSS). NSS works at the heart of the health service to deliver services critical to frontline patient care and to support the efficient and effective operation of NHS Scotland:
National Scottish document standards in primary care were agreed as part of the Docman project (previously sighted in the ‘The Good Practice Guidelines for GP electronic patient records v4 – GPGv4 2011, from the DH) https://www.dh.gov.uk/prod_consum_dh/groups/dh_digitalassets/documents/digitalasset/dh_125350.pdf