Only 12% of NHS Trusts fully digitised, says OpenText research

NHS Trusts OpenTextImage: Only one in ten NHS Trusts are fully digitised, finds OpenText research. Photo: courtesy of Raysonho @ Open Grid Scheduler / Grid Engine / Wikipedia.org.

New research from OpenText found that only one in 10 NHS Trusts are fully digitised, indicating that there is lot of work to do for adopting digital patient records in the UK to meet the government’s target of making NHS paperless by 2020.

The fully digitised trusts represent only 12% of the 52 that responded to the Freedom of Information (FoI) request sought by the company to 74 organisations across the UK.

Earlier in 2019, the UK government came up with the new ‘NHS Long Term Plan’ under which all secondary healthcare providers are needed to transition to digital records by 2023, to make sure that clinicians can access and interact with patient records and care plans irrespective of their location.

Figures from OpenText reveal that 37% of responding NHS Trusts achieved digitalisation of more than half of their patient records. Only one in five trusts, at 23%, confirmed that 76-99% of scans, letters, notes and results and other patient records are currently digitised.

OpenText said that 69% of the surveyed NHS Trusts could not provide an answer when asked to confirm the number of paper-based patient records they collected in the fourth quarter of 2018. Only 16 trusts could provide the data and put together created over 1.7 million paper-based records during the time period.

On a positive note, the data collected by the research indicates that a majority of the surveyed trusts, at 62%, are looking to digitise all patient records. A further 21% of the organisations have an aim to be fully digitised within the next one or two years.

Apart from that, 21% of the NHS Trusts plan to become paperless within the coming three to four years, while 12% of those surveyed do not have any plans to digitise 100% of patient records.

OpenText UK public sector head Tracey Lethbridge said: “Through the creation of a ‘one patient, one record’ environment, NHS clinicians can easily access the necessary information – regardless of where it is and in what form – to more effectively commission and monitor services that reflect the needs of patients.

“Ultimately, accurate and timely patient data is at the heart of delivering quality care and will ensure all front-line care staff can access this information where and when it is needed, boosting their productivity and enabling them to help more patients, more quickly.”

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