Doctors at Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust will be able to access the organisation’s electronic patient record system from the bedside using iPads.

Bradford has signed a new contract with technology firm Kainos to use its Evolve iPad app, which will provide clinicians with access to patient medical records at the point of care.

An earlier deal between the two organisations, signed last December, was based on the deployment of an electronic document management system to serve as platform for a full EPR.

Evolve will integrate with the trust’s existing systems and hold scanned, electronic versions of existing paper records.

Brent Walker, chief information officer at Bradford, told eHealth Insider that Kainos was providing the app at no further cost to the trust from its original business case and that it would “greatly improve” the mobile working capabilities of doctors.

“This was always a possibility, but at the time of the original contract Kainos had not developed an iPad application, so we were planning on going down the traditional route [of using] desktop PCs.

“However, doctors will no longer have to play the ‘hunt the PC’ game and the usability of mobile devices at the point of care and the sexiness of the iPad really does appeal to clinicians.”

Walker said that Bradford will aim to provide all 700 doctors at the trust with iPads. And he said this would prove cheaper than purchasing HP tablet PCs, which were nearly four times the price of the Apple device.

The app gives clinicians access to the whole of the Evolve medical record, including scanned and electronic documents, photos, videos and audio. However, discharge summaries will still have to be created on desktop PCs.

The trust also believes that the deployment of tablet devices will remove a constant requirement for paper in clinical settings, creating a “paperlike” environment at the trust.

“We are trying to get rid of as much paper as possible but we are aware of the advantages that paper can provide our clinicians and how efficient using paper can be at the point of care.

“Clinicians do want to use app software and iPads as it shares many similarities with paper, so we are getting close to providing them with that paperlike product.”

Bradford hopes to implement the Kainos software with a phased go-live in July, starting at the hospital’s ear, nose and throat department.

A date for deployment of iPads has not been set, because the implementation is still being planned.

Deirdre O’Neill, head of the Evolve healthcare division at Kainos said: “Accessing and inputting information at the point of care will transform the day to day delivery of healthcare at NHS hospitals and we are delighted to be driving this reality.

“We have created this new app in conjunction with NHS clinicians and taken close account of their demands, from how it should look to the key functions and tasks it should deliver.

"The result is this new easy to use, portable, flexible iPad app that is optimised for use in inpatient, outpatient and community contexts.”

South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust has also purchased the iPad app and it hopes to go live this summer.