Cardiff and Vale University Health Board has rolled out more than 600 portable devices to staff to update their electronic patient records on the move.

The health board, which uses Civica’s clinical information system Paris, has given staff Samsung netbooks and Lenovo ThinkPads.

These allow staff to access patient data and enter notes directly into the electronic records while visiting patients.

Cardiff and Vale’s mobile working project lead, Bryn Harries, told eHealth Insider that many of its staff work in the community amd the health board needed remote access to ensure data was accurate and available on the system.

“The EPR has 5,000 users, half of which are community users,” he said. “When they would be out seeing patients in the community, they would have to use pen and paper, and there would be several hours where they didn’t have access to the system.”

He explained that after seeing a patient, staff would have to go back and enter information from their notes into the EPR on a health board computer.

“Staff can now enter information on a minute by minute basis and no longer have to struggle to get back to base to type up the notes. That’s allowed them flexibility and we can conduct more visits and also increase patient time.”

He added that the health board had also supplied staff with car chargers with fully encrypted data connections, from Stone.

“The wi-fi, Bluetooth and camera have all been disabled for security reasons. The device can also be disconnected instantly if needed,” said Harries.

The health board came up with a bespoke solution, together with Stone, to keep the hard drive locked down.

Programme manager Mark Cahalane said this security was tested when a staff member lost her device.

“We had a device lost during roll out, but the loss of the mobile device had no risk to it because it couldn’t be accessed without a secure log-in.

“However, the staff member’s paper diary was a massive problem as it contained patient information,” he explained.

The health board begun rolling out the Samsung netbooks in 2011, but when they went out of production, Cardiff and Vale turned to Lenovo.

So far the health board has 176 ThinkPads in use. He added: “We hope to build on this in the coming months and years."