It’s universally agreed that there are good reasons to move to a paperless healthcare environment. The benefits are pretty obvious in terms of improvement to patient outcomes and patient safety, as well as cutting costs and inefficiencies.
However barriers exist that can slow down this drive to modernise how healthcare is managed. Major concern exists over the disastrous implementation of ‘big bang’ Electronic Patient Records (EPR’s) that promise healthcare nirvana, but delivered major problems to the hospital. While this can often be just teething problems that get resolved it gives food for thought to other healthcare providers contemplating similar investments.
In November 2014, Cambridge University Hospital National Health Service (NHS) Foundation Trust was forced to declare a “major incident” and divert ambulances to other hospitals for five hours after its new EPR became unstable a week after go-live.
The trust has also had “significant problems” with its pathology system, matching test results to patients. It asked GPs to stop ordering routine blood tests at short notice.This is just one example among many hospitals who have had problems with the ‘big bang’ approach to EPR implementation.
The costs of change both from a financial perspective and the ‘change management’ aspect in training staff to new ways of working can be significant. From business case data prepared by a number of UK NHS Trusts, the justification to invest in an EPR as seen by them are:
- The paper record is not complete and cannot be made complete.
- The paper record can only be available in one location at a time, resulting in time delays in treating patients.
- Questionable clarity of content of the paper record poses significant risk to patient care.
- Users of the paper record may make assumptions regarding its content and therefore may not have complete information in their decision making.
Additionally the time spent filing paper documentation and distributing the record is a significant administrative burden.
Interestingly, in the US a different perspective can be seen with regard to perceived benefits:
1.The records provide proof to insurance companies that a patient was seen. The records also indicate why the patient was seen, including any tests that were conducted. This facilitates insurance reimbursements.
2.The records can be used in court in the event of a malpractice claim.
To put the level of investment in perspective, a recent business case from an NHS Trust requested an £8m spend with an anticipated cost savings of £15m. At the higher end of the scale between £31m and £36m is required for each installation of a major EPR in the NHS.
While the investment can be quantified it is much more difficult to be precise with the cost savings which in this case were specified around:
(a) Cash releasing savings i.e. cost of delivering services being reduced
(b) Efficiency benefits that offer reduced wasted or duplicated effort.
(c) Qualitative benefits around improved patient experience, reductions in errors and safety improvements that can’t be quantified.
While the cost savings/efficiencies are significant the level of investment is so large without the guarantee of a successful implementation that some hospitals prefer to go down a different route than the big bang EPR approach which has significant risks and can take years to implement.
Some hospitals are more interested in taking a different approach and are more interested in finding a vendor and solution that can match their clinical needs as they currently are and grow with them.
Vitro from Sláinte Healthcare has proven it can deliver on these key hospital requirements
- Overcoming user adoption challenges - by mimicking the existing processes currently in use.
- Complete data aggregation - Vitro allows patient data from internal & external systems to be displayed in a single view on an electronic patient chart.
- Rapid implementation - months rather than years.
- Return on investment - affordable & flexible pricing models mean you see instant returns on your investment.
Vitro is tailored to meet the needs of each client. Create a totally paperless hospital like Calvary’s Bethlehem Hospital in Australia www.slaintehealthcare.com/Our-Clients/Testimonials/Calvary-Health-Care-Testimonial
Vitro's approach allows you to take any activity or document that is paper based and complete it electronically. Creating an adaptable electronic medical record that suits your healthcare organisation. Watch http://bit.ly/1Jsa0Id
It’s time to look outside the multimillion euro, slow implementation box, and find something that really works for you!
Canice McKee - Business Development Manager Ireland & UK, Sláinte Healthcare
Canice is responsible for growing Slainte Healthcare’s business within the UK and Ireland. During a successful 6 years at Lincor Solutions Canice won many contracts for their bedside computing solution in hospitals across UK, Ireland and the Middle East, developing an understanding of how technology can improve patient outcomes. Canice’s background prior to becoming involved in Healthcare was in the Mobile Communications market, where he held senior global marketing positions with Nokia and sales and marketing roles with BT and Orange. Canice is a Business graduate and is a Member of the Institute of Marketing