Outpatient consultations at University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust are almost entirely paperless following the introduction of a clinical portal, the ICT director says.

The trust, which has a reputation for building systems in-house instead of looking for external suppliers, has developed its own clinical portal and are well en-route to going paperless.

Speaking at EHI Live 2012, Stephen Chilton said: “In excess of 90% of our outpatient consultations don’t require paper records anymore.”

“In some instances when people need to draw a diagram or similar, we actually deploy digital pen technology,” he said.

Regardless of if clinicians need to access PICS, radiology charts or patient records, they only need to log-in once as, “it’s all there under the same portal.”

Chilton explained that paper notes are individually retrievable from the trust’s clinical records facility if needed.

“But unlike the old days, it’s now an audited process. We need to understand why they (staff) need those records,” he added.

He claimed that less than 2% of the hospital’s turnover was spent on IT. When asked if he thought the trust would have got as far as it has today had it gone for an external supplier, Chilton answered jokingly: “Maybe if we had a shedload of money.”

Chilton told the audience that although everything has gone relatively smoothly, training 7000 staff across 40 specialties was an issue.

“We went to each specialty and worked with them to give them the confidence to work with the clinical portal to give them the information they needed to deliver the service they wanted,” he explained.

He said some people needed a little more convincing than others. “We had those people who were enthusiastic but cautious. They wanted evidence and assurance in that they could get access to things that they needed.”

Last year the trust trialled myhealth@QEHB a patient portal which allows those with long-term conditions to view and update their medical records.

It was initially piloted with a number of liver patients, but is now being phased in across 11 specialties.

“It continues to be developed as a tool and we continue to work with our local cluster on new solutions,” Chilton said.