Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust has started a £12.8m record management project to transfer more than 1.2m medical records online and move the trust “into the 21st Century.”

The trust has signed a ten year agreement with document management specialist Xerox to provide full outsourced management of its health records.

The trust, which covers Alexandra Hospital in Redditch, Kidderminster Hospital and treatment centre, and Worcestershire Royal Hospital, started exploring the management system some years ago.

John Thornbury, director of ICT, told E-Health Insider: “We have been looking into this for a while and probably should have moved forward with the plans some time ago.

“We are a financially challenged trust and have had an expensive medical records service across all three sites. So the goal has been to provide clinicians with what they need to work with, whilst reducing the cost.”

Although Thornbury declined to say how much the existing paper system costs the trust, he admitted that it was “significantly more” and that the new system “will make a large difference.”

The contract was awarded to Xerox in July after more than 120 companies bid for the deal through an Official Journal of the European Union advertisement.

At the beginning of August, the trust went live with part one of the two stage project. Xerox took full control of the warehouse where the medical records are stored and began digitising paper records using Xerox character recognition technology.

The trust has now started scanning the records of those patients who have most recently visited the hospital and those with long term conditions who are likely to return. It hopes to have digitised around 500,000 by the end of next year.

Thornbury added: “Over time, the paper will go and any paper that needs to stay for legal reasons will be put in deep storage. The warehouse will cease to exist, which will also help us to cut costs.”

The second stage, which will run in parallel to the digitisation process, will deliver an online portal integrated with other trust IT systems. This will provide clinicians with the maximum amount of data possible.

“The portal will provide staff with a single unified view of a patient record which can be shared across different departments; the record will be in a much more intelligent format than a PDF. The user front will also be key – it will be flexible with an iPhone type interface,” Thornbury said.

Despite its decision, the trust says it is still committed to the National Programme for IT in the NHS.

Thornbury said: “If the national programme works, then we will work with our LSP [local service provider]; but if it doesn’t then we are already one step ahead. We’ve all seen that it’s not easy to move from paper to electronic records so we are using this as a hybrid to move over.”


Andy Jones, director and general manager of Xerox global services, Europe, said Xerox understood the unique financial and operational challenges faced by Worcestershire.

He said: “The Xerox management service is a reliable and trusted outsourcing solution that will help the trust to realise the genuine operational benefits and innovative ways of working.

“They will increase efficiency-a benefit that will directly impact on patient care-while also saving money, reducing paper usage and reducing the trust environmental impact.”

Link: Xerox