Western Sussex Hospital NHS Foundation Trust first to benefit.

Following news by the government’s new health and care secretary, Matt Hancock, that £75 million will be made available for trusts to replace paper-based systems with electronic systems, Docman – an Advanced company – has today announced it is the first to integrate technology with the NHS e-Referral Service (eRS) to deliver this vision.

GP talking to male patient

The direct integration of the Docman Referral Management Solution (RMS) with eRS brings together two leading electronic workflow systems for managing referrals, removing the need for manual and paper-based triage processes and comes following a rigorous assurance process with NHS Digital.

The integration means referral and clinical information will be consumed directly into Docman RMS to present the consultant with a clinical summary sheet and all supporting information digitally, in one place. The integration, allowing for full end-to-end triage, is set to deliver both time and costs efficiency savings to NHS trusts. Those already using Docman RMS save on average around 36 minutes per referral compared to when using paper – an impressive figure considering trusts receive around 50,000–150,000 new GP referrals a year. This saving is expected to rise thanks to the integration of the two platforms.

Western Sussex Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has been using Docman RMS since Spring 2018 and will be the first customer to go live with the integration. As the NHS moves into an unprecedented phase of digitisation, it is vital the trust identifies technologies that could drive time efficiencies and improve patient and staff experiences. By implementing Docman RMS, it hopes to further speed up triage referrals by automating administrative processes.

The practice of printing out electronic referrals is widespread throughout hospitals in England, which presents clinical risk and significant administrative costs. From 1st October 2018, NHS Trusts will only accept first-appointment referrals from GPs electronically and many trusts anticipate this will in fact add to the administrative burden of existing paper-based triage processes.

Phase one of the project at Western Sussex Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has involved technical integration and accreditation while phase two will offer consultants the option to accept, reject or redirect a referral. This functionality is expected to be available later this year.

Ric Thompson, Managing Director – Health and Care – Advanced, concluded: “We’ve worked extremely closely with NHS Digital to support the digitisation of the referral process and remove the complexity a trust has in receiving and processing referral letters. We’re delighted to have supported Western Sussex Hospitals in its deployment of Docman RMS, which will enable the trust to drive significant efficiencies and save money.”

Advanced’s acquisition of Docman is accelerating the firm’s Cloud-first strategy and supports its ambitions to help the NHS in transforming health and care through technology in line with the ‘NHS 5 Year Forward View’ and ‘NHS Digital Policy’. It continues to work in partnership with NHS England and NHS Digital, most recently on the notable virtual health assistant app, Ask NHS. Uniting Advanced and Docman will enhance the company’s position in the market as a leading healthcare technology provider and help drive a more secure and connected health and care sector across the UK.

Docman is the first choice for primary and secondary care providers looking to manage paperless clinical documents.  Its technology is responsible for maintaining one billion detailed records and documents for over 40,000,000 patients in the UK, managing over 3,000,000 items of weekly patient correspondence.

Adding to Advanced’s presence in Urgent & Unplanned care, Out of Hours and NHS Community & Mental Health Trusts, Docman has more than 5,400 GP practices, 115 NHS Trusts (hospitals) and 178 Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) within the care community benefiting from improved patient care through its solutions. Docman will sit within the Advanced’s Health & Care Business Unit.

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