Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust estimates that 85% of its data is now entered on the same day thanks to use of digital pens by its 800 staff.

The mental health trust has rolled out Destiny’s Digital Pen, which uses Anoto technology, to its entire staff after a proof of concept pilot involving 90 staff across three community mental health teams.

Nick Hodson, head of service improvement and programme assurance at the trust, said clinicians often struggled to enter activity data and the pen’s ability to send activity data straight into the trust’s information systems was a solution to that problem.

The digi-pen works by sending encrypted data to a mobile phone via Bluetooth, where it is encrypted again and sent to Destiny’s mirrored servers.

From there, data is sent via encrypted email direct to a Lotus Notes application in an automatically managed in-box at the trust. 

This updates the trust’s Care Notes system through an ID matching process. Any incorrect entries are sent to a holding area to be reviewed and managed.

Hodson told EHI Primary Care: “Digi-pens allow us to use excellent quality, contemporaneous, detailed data to inform our decision making. It is also a tool that creates the potential for greater efficiency.   

"The efficiences created by having Destiny’s digi-pens allow us to use our capacity and demand calculators to accurately calculate how much increased productivity the existing establishment could undertake and therefore additional income.”

Hodson said potential future areas for use of the digi-pen technology included prescribing, Honos completion, Payment by Results clustering, clinical notes and bar-coding, which digi-pens can read.

He added: “Some of these would be utilising existing pens with appropriate digital data capture form development, some may require further investment in areas not currently covered.”