The East Kent Pathology Network has implemented a new information capture system called Indicus from information capture specialists Kofax, to electronically scan pathology specimen request forms.

The new system should help East Kent Pathology Network – which covers four acute trusts – to better manage and process incoming pathology specimen request forms, saving time and money.

The system has been designed for use by East Kent by document management specialists, Plumtree Group who installed the system under a five-year contract at the main pathology laboratory, which receives requests from the East Kent Hospital NHS Trust, Medway NHS Trust, Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust, and Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust

Kofax’s head of UK operations, John Stinchcome, told E-Health Insider: “Plumtree has developed a solution that breaks the existing bottleneck faced by Pathology Labs who have to enter paper forms into clinical systems.

The Indicius system is said to provide a series of configurable modules for advanced document classification, separation and extraction capabilities, enabling the automated processing of types of business documents, such as the pathology specimen request form.

He added: "Indicius offers them the verification and validation they require, bearing in mind that there is no standard UK Pathology specimen request form, every PCT and Pathology Lab has there own style which needs inputting."

Through integration with Kofax’s Ascent Capture Platform, East Kent will be better able to manage incoming pathology specimen request forms – regardless of type and format. including automatic document separation technology, which eliminates the need to insert separator sheets and can help to substantially reduce costs related to printing separator sheets, such as paper, ink and toner.

Stinchcome added: “With the repetitive nature of humans completing specimen request forms, there are bound to be errors, but computers never tire, they will continue to process the forms with the same level of accuracy taking just around five to six seconds per form. There is still a validation and verification stage, and it is by no means foolproof.

“However, the system does its best to transcribe print and alerts the user if it detects unknown characteristics. It has reduced the overall data entry process by at least two- thirds, hence saving users a third of the time they used to spend entering data and producing three times more results in a day than before – so patient’s aren’t left waiting.”

The new system also uses new technology to enable users to access internal documents through a web browser regardless of their source.

East Kent Hospitals NHS Trust’s pathology manager, Dai Davies, said: “We have already seen tremendous benefits from our electronic document management system and see extreme value in the addition of document classification, separation and extraction capabilities to further automate our business processes.”

Stinchcome said that the technology developed by Plumtree Group would reduce keying time and keep patients happy as it takes unstructured and variable data, and with accurate and precise precision, moves the data around to suit the needs of the pathology network.

Plumtree Group’s business development director, Ben Dorks, said: “Our deep experience in helping organisations throughout the healthcare industry to improve business processes has allowed us to design a solution that will meet East Kent Pathology Network’s current and future needs.

“We look forward to continuing our relationship with East Kent Pathology Network throughout the duration of our agreement to ensure the organisation’s goals are met from both a business and technology standpoint.”