St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust has told E-Health Insider that it has realised its £1.2m investment on its electronic document management system just two years after it began roll out.

The trust, which began implementing the EDM system from Kodak and C-Cube to provide it with a scan on demand electronic records system in September 2008, said that the actual savings achieved have proved far greater than first imagined.

Neil Darvill, director of informatics at the trust, told EHI: “We have already achieved our ROI of £1.2m in two years.

"We’ve been able to stop the vans that have to transport 7,000 notes a week, reduce secretarial departments and once the [health records] library is completely closed that will reduce all overheads there.”

In addition, the trust says that it also expects to save more than £3.2m over a five year period, which will come partly from closing the two floor health records building by 2014.

Darvill added: “We’ve undertaken a substantial clerical staffing review and haven’t been replacing people that have left. The medical secretary posts still exist but we have been able to scale back the support to those and have been able to release cash savings much quicker than thought.”

The trust also says that after scanning more than 130,000 records of ‘active’ patients it will now look to become not only ‘paper-light’ but ‘paper free.’

It will do this by using direct data entry within the next 12-18 months, so that information can be entered directly into the system using keyboards, digital pens and other devices, which will again reduce the amount of people needing to scan information back into the system.

The trust hopes that the system will generate savings to the wider health economy as it begins to go live with the system.

St Helen’s and Knowsley operates a shared service and already two out of the 92 GP practices in the area are trialling the system, which will enable them to see the hospital records of patients registered at their practice.

Darvill said that they are “in the thick of negotiating” roll out to them Five Boroughs Partnership NHS Trust, the only mental health trust that is live with National Programme system, Lorenzo.

To hear more about the business and clinical benefits at St Helen’s and Knowlsey, read the feature ‘Look, no vans.’