The Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust has implemented a new order communications system from IMS Maxims across 12 of its sites on the mainland and the Isles of Scilly.

The system will replace the paperwork used for radiology tests that are carried out at the trust’s three main hospitals and a number of community hospitals.

It often meant that a test took several days to pass through internal post to the correct person.

In addition, incomplete information and poor handwriting often meant that even more time was spent contacting clinicians to make sure appropriate tests were carried out.

The new order comms system will ensure that all the relevant information has been entered before the order is placed.

Clinicians can choose from more than 800 tests. Once a test has been carried out clinicians are able to read a report on screen.

Dr Simon Thorogood, consultant radiologist and senior lead in clinical health informatics at the trust, said: “The new system brings real benefits for patients because their tests can be carried out sooner and there is much less chance of errors or duplication.

"Handwritten request cards could take days to be processed, but now it is all done straight away.

“Our clinicians like the system because they have had a lot of input into its development, so it works in just the way they want it to.

"It allows them to be highly specific about the view they want of a patient – something that has been particularly popular with our orthopaedic surgeons.”

The system will eventually be used by about 800 staff to order 150,000 tests a year. Authorised users will be able to access the system through a secure portal from any location.

It is also being developed to allow clinicians to call up scans and x-rays images and is being trailed for pathology testing.

Shane Tickell, chief executive of IMS Maxims said: “The size and rural character of Cornwall means its health service has its own specific requirements, not least because the population can double during the summer holiday season, creating a huge upsurge in demand for services.

“By working closely with the trust we were able to provide it with a tailored solution that suited its needs and workload.”