Researchers at Central Middlesex Hospital have found that the implementation of an electronic patient record system in the genito-urinary medicine clinic has lead to an impressive improvement in treatment times.
Patients being treated for Chlamydia have been treated up to three times more quickly since the system was introduced than they were being treated when the clinic was using paper records.
The research, published in Sexually Transmitted Infections, is based on a study of more than 100 patients. Some were treated in the first three months of 2007, before the bespoke EPR from software company Blythe Lillie was implemented, and some during the first three months of 2009, after it was live.
The date of first attendance at the clinic, first positive test result, first attempted patient contact, and attendance for treatment were all recorded for each patient over the two time periods.
The average time taken to treat a patient who had tested positive for Chlamydia fell from 11.5 days to 3.5 days.
The proportion of patients treated within two weeks of receiving a positive test results also increased from 38% in 2007 to 94% in 2009.
The records also cut the time taken to recall patients by eliminating administrative procedures and outdated information on records.
Dr Gary Brook from Patrick Clements Clinic at Central Middlesex Hospital, told E-Health Insider: “Three years ago we were the first – or one of the first – to go live with the Blithe Lilie system in GUM and we followed this by going live in HIV two years ago.
"Now, there are no notes on the shelves to sort, no people walking round the clinic trying to locate notes.
“Last week, a doctor from Newcastle called me because a HIV patient had turned up. I was able to give him the patient’s full medical history just by clicking. Then he needed some urgent results and they were with him via email within five minutes.”
Dr Brook said that he demonstrates the system to other clinics from across the country to show its success.
The GUM clinic does not currently link its system to The North West London Hospitals NHS Trust’s iSoft PAS, but Dr Brook says there is potential to use it for joint registration and for sending results.
“Appropriate use of technology greatly improves our ability to treat patients rapidly, and we should strive to use all available methods," Dr Brook said.
“Clinics still running paper based records should strongly consider switching to electronic patient records."