EDT Hub has been deployed to NHS Eastern and Coastal Kent’s 120 GP Practices and NHS Medway’s 61 Practices to distribute documents electronically rather than using the previous paper-based method.

The end-to-end solution enables the effective transfer of electronic documents to improve patient care, reduce processes performed by healthcare professionals and provide significant time and cost savings.

The solution is calculated to save NHS Eastern and Coastal Kent and its Practices £198,616 per year in time savings and consumables when transferring 900,000 documents, without taking into account savings in postage costs. NHS Medway estimates that approximately £108,122 will be saved per annum in time savings across its practices.

Transferring electronic documents using EDT Hub

EDT Hub captures documents from Secondary Care systems and distributes them to any GP practice. By sending documents electronically, Hospital Trusts can not only meet delivery targets like the 24 hour discharge summary, but they can also make significant savings by removing printing and postage costs. The PCTI EDT platform is a proven solution for delivering electronic letters to GP practices such as Discharge Summaries, Discharge Letter, Encounter Reports, Radiology Reports, Outpatient Clinic Letters and Out-of-Hours Reports.  There are over 40 Hubs already deployed (between Hospitals and GP Practices ) delivering the benefits of joining up healthcare.

Patient benefits

EDT delivers patient letters electronically in near real time, for example, if a patient is discharged from the ward at 11.30, and the patient goes to see their GP at 3.00 the same day, that patient discharge summary correspondence will already be there. This means that a single click by practice staff and it’s available to the GP.

The solution transfers letters safely and securely to GP practices, where healthcare professionals benefit from automation tools and a comprehensive audit trail, improving data quality and enhancing patient care. GPs have faster access to patient information to enable improved tracking of patient care plans for example tracking blood results.

Electronic documents are delivered to GP Practices utilising the EDT Hub platform into the centre of GP electronic workflow using PCTI’s Docman. Encompassing minimal user intervention, GP Practices benefit from automation tools within the software. The documents are tagged with meta-data to enable the GP Practice to auto file the documents instantly, without manually selecting filing details.

GP Practice staff will be able to view the document with one mouse click using Docman, and the document can be workflowed around the Practice for clinicians to comment, review, highlight, action and read code. With a couple of mouse clicks, the document can be actioned by the Practice in a safe and audited way.

The solution enables NHS Eastern and Coastal Kent and NHS Medway to have an intelligent, complete end-to-end solution that saves staff time, thereby allowing GP Practices to concentrate on patient services. Through utilising electronic document management tools, healthcare professionals have instant access to the information they need and can quickly update on the patient. The solution also creates back office efficiencies by enabling professionals to spend less time on processing documents.

GP time savings

The traditional method of processing each paper document received can take a Practice 53 seconds by manually filing it correctly and entering the document into a workflow for review and action. Using EDT the time it takes to process the document is reduced to 28 seconds by removing the need to open, date and stamp, scan, file and dispose of the letter, therefore generating a saving of 25 seconds for each document received. Based on the number of correspondence sent in 2008/2009  from the Acute Trust (East Kent Hospitals University Foundation Trust ) to GP Practices in NHS Eastern and Costal Kent, this represents a saving of 6290 hours calculated at a saving of £50,324 based on an average staff cost of £8 per hour.

Acute time savings (East Kent Hospitals University Foundation Trust)

Processing each document, the Acute spends 51 seconds in printing, processing envelopes, folding and entering into an envelope. The document must then be collected and sent to a mailroom for postage. The documents are then collected and transported over to the Practice. Sending  a document electronically takes 10 seconds to process, therefore saving 41 seconds per document, and based on the 2008/2009 figures, this saves the Trust 10316 hours of staff time calculated as a  saving of £103,164.

Removing stationery costs

East Kent Hospitals University Foundation Trust makes further savings on stationery, including letter headed paper, printer cartridges and window envelopes, totalling  £45,128.

Managing 900,000 documents a year

Shantel Habib, Technical Project Manager, NHS Eastern and Coastal Kent, “Our Acute Trust, East Kent Hospitals University Foundation Trust, will be sending discharge summaries and clinic letters  (A&E letters, outpatient letters etc) electronically to GP Practices using EDT Hub and we expect to be sending around 900,000 documents a year. The solution will create significant time savings for GP Practices and will of course provide significant cost savings for the Hospital.”

Shantel continues, “The Acute Trust were the driving force behind the delivery of electronic documents to all GP Practices.  Their initial view was to go down the DTS route, delivering the documents in the same manner as pathology and radiology reports are sent to Practices. However, our GP’s responded that they preferred to receive electronic documents via EDT Hub as this was the best way of delivery for them, having the documents sent directly into Docman.”

“One of the major factors behind choosing EDT Hub was that approximately 99% of our GP Practices use Docman, so their internal processes wouldn’t change, apart from removing certain time consuming functions such as scanning. The integration with Docman offers a complete end-to-end solution so the documents can be automated and entered into an intelligent GP workflow, which requires minimal user intervention. It is here where EDT Hub excels due to the volume of documents we plan to receive from our Acute Trust.”

“We found that transferring documents using NHS Mail wasn’t ideal due to the sheer volume of documents we expect to be processing. We anticipate about 900,000 documents to be sent electronically each year using EDT Hub, therefore an automated process of getting these into the Practice as well as pre-populated filing fields can save up to a minute for each document, as well as all the other new benefits!”

“The solution will also enable our GP Practices to receive documents from other Acute Trusts, such as Medway Foundation NHS Trust, Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust, Guys & St Thomas’ NHS Trust, Community Trust etc. The only change for GPs, is that letters will be delivered electronically, presenting savings all round!”

Through the deployment of EDT Hub, Practices in the area did not require training on new systems and processes because of the delivery into existing processes. Documents are delivered into Docman with attached data for administration staff to verify and instantly send to a GP. The GP can then manage the document before automatically routing to the correct person to action. One example is when a document is sent to the read coder to summarise, and a receptionist to telephone the patient, all within one mouse click from a GP.

Labukun Kosefobamu, Informatics Project Manager, NHS Medway “We plan to utilise the EDT Hub, now we know the technology is there to transfer more documents down the same route.”

“Our aim was to transfer discharge summaries within 24 hours to GPs and found a lot of information that patients should give to GPs was not always being delivered. Therefore by transferring these documents electronically we know the GP has access to the information they need and in a more efficient and effective method.”

“We plan to use other services through EDT Hub so GPs can benefit even further and become paper-light.”

Removing the paper trail

Denise Mumford, IT Programme Manager (ECKPCT) “The Acute definitely benefits in the reduction in costs but it’s not just the money that will be of benefit, as there are a lot of important time savings. One example would be that documents are delivered with attached information so they are automatically workflowed, which is much better than the manual process, removing human error and ensuring GPs have access to an up-to-date record. This then provides a better service to patients as GP Practices have the information faster and have access to a complete patient record. Patients can also be comforted in the knowledge their information is being securely sent and will be recorded when the GP receives the letter.”

“Another area that we aimed to improve was the difference between GP Practices receiving handwritten documents that could be open to interpretation. When documents are transferred electronically errors are minimised and time consuming back office tasks are removed.”

“By sending documents electronically we can audit the process and be safe in the knowledge that letters do not get lost in the post.  We deployed EDT Hub as we can accurately report on areas to provide us with some valuable information and so we know that the document is received by the GP Practice.”

The Quality, Innovation, Productivity and Prevention (QIPP) efficiency guide

Quality, Innovation, Productivity and Prevention (QIPP) is a guide how health and social care staff through innovation are improving productivity and quality. QIPP is a large scale transformational programme for the NHS, involving all NHS staff, clinicians, patients and the voluntary sector and will improve the quality of care the NHS delivers whilst making up to £20billion of efficiency savings by 2014-15, which will be reinvested in frontline care.

Tony Obayori, Kent and Medway Programme Manager “We are heavily involved in the QIPP efficiency guide; with electronic document transfer being at the centre of a lot of things we are doing to create these efficiencies. The solution enables the seamless communication of letters between secondary and primary care, to move information around for clinicians to use when they need it most. The EDT Hub has been able to apply a huge reduction in costs and is part of our QIPP IMT programme.”

“We aim to maximise the use of EDT Hub to ensure that the full potential is utilised to reduce costs and ensure an effective joined-up health care.”

Interoperability and up scaling the solution

Tony highlights “The EDT Hub is hosted in an external data centre; the managed service has been used because of its reliability and its resilience. It will be effective for us from a risk management and quality perspective. If we want to expand in the future then we can utilise the skills they have rather than having to bring the skills in-house which would be very costly.”

“We have an aggressive strategy to consolidate servers / rationalise down the number of servers required. However we will easily have the capacity to deploy extra space on demand within a few hours, rather than waiting weeks.”

Denise Mumford, IT Programme Manager (ECKPCT) “The data centre is part of our IT program that will help us moving forward to support GP Practices and ensure we maximise efficiencies.”

Connecting All

Ric Thompson, Managing Director, PCTI “This electronic document transfer project demonstrates real interoperability and is ‘connecting all’ through the use of EDT Hub. The solution enables the instant transfer of documents electronically between care providers irrespective of the systems they use, providing demonstrable benefits to healthcare communities, professionals and patients.

“The integration with Docman our electronic document management solution for healthcare, offers a complete end-to-end solution so the documents can be automated and entered into an intelligent workflow requiring minimal user intervention. It is here where EDT Hub excels due to the volume of documents sent between care providers.

“The solution is one of the many examples nationally where EDT is transforming the foundations of clinical communication between Primary and Secondary care.  Our new multi-directional EDT Hub’s will provide an exciting opportunity to really start to join up health and social care through two-way electronic document transfer and intelligent electronic workflow capabilities.”

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