Medical Record Scanning could save the NHS £300 million per year
Ruth Gooda | 26 Jan 2019

Medical Record Scanning could save the NHS £300 million per year

Scanning medical records can reduce paper-handling costs and improve patient care

Scanning patients’ medical records could save the NHS£300m a year, as the service looks towards digital solutions to save money and improve the quality of care.

It is believed to take 10,000 full-time staff to manage medical records, typically housed in 200,000 sq m of space that could be used for frontline clinical care.

This estate costs the NHS around £300m a year to sustain, representing 0.5% of the total NHS budget.

Digital transformation solutions are key to reducing organisational pressure and associated costs.

And, by 2020, the NHS Five Year Forward View has committed to having ‘fully-interoperable electronic health records so that patient’s records are paperless’.

More than 45 NHS trusts have benefitted from EDM Group’s medical records scanning solution in their aim to become less reliant on paper. The solution saw a 30% reduction in paper-handling costs.

Safe, accurate, and secure access to patient records allow healthcare professionals to focus their critical resources on patient care. Conversely, movement of paper across multiple sites creates risk of loss and misplacement, and paper-based records require a high-level of administration by doctors, medical secretaries, and medical records staff.

Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS Trust, the UK’s-largest specialist heart and lung centre, contracted EDM Group to scan its legacy medical records as part of a full digital transformation project.

Through the rollout, the trust climbed from the bottom quartile in a digital maturity assessment in 2013 to the top quartile in 2016, transforming working practices and significantly reducing paper-handling costs.

An EDM Group spokesman said: “Records scanning requires establishing a detailed rollout plan for each organisation before documents are scanned to an agreed time frame.

“Digital documents are then uploaded to a centralised electronic document management system. Finally, the paper documents are securely destroyed via EDM’s own document handlers.”

He added: “The NHS faces government cuts of at least £600m by 2020/21 and research has revealed the considerable impact of the cuts upon patient care: hospitals can no longer afford the most-modern medical scanners and surgical equipment to treat patients with cancer and other diseases, while a study by the BMJ linked 120,000 deaths to spending cuts beneath austerity.

“Reducing administration costs by pursuing a paperless agenda could, therefore, be a welcome solution for NHS trusts during a critical time.”

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Ruth Gooda