University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust is sending letters electronically to all GPs in its local area and deploying electronic blood tracking as part of its efforts to become paperless by 2016.

The trust sends more than 40,000 discharge summaries, clinical letters and outpatient attendance details to GPs every month from PCTI's electronic document transfer hub.

Mark Walker, the trust’s clinical results reporting system manager, said that 70% of all letters to GPs in Coventry and Warwickshire are sent electronically via the hub, which the trust implemented in 2010. The trust saves 50p for each letter sent electronically.

“Our previous process was to send paper letters to our GP colleagues; this was a costly and time consuming method,” Walker told EHI.

All 145 practices in the area as well as ten practices out of area receive letters electronically.

“The next steps for us in terms of the future are to look at the services still on paper and get round and convert them to Docman,” he said.

“The quality of the letter and the timeliness of the letter ultimately help improve patient care.”

The trust, which aims to go paperless by 2016, has also begun to roll out its Blood Track Tx blood tracking system.It aims to ensure that patients receive the right blood by matching barcoded on their wristbands with the product labels on the blood.

Using hand held scanners, staff can check the barcodes at the patient’s bedside before giving a transfusion and if the information does not match it will automatically send an alert to the hospital laboratory.  

The system is gradually being rolled out across the trust and is already in use on five wards and the renal dialysis unit.

 Janine Beddow, the trust’s transfusion nurse lead said that patient misidentification is a “widespread problem” and that failure to correctly identify patients is “one of the most serious risks to patient safety.”

“We transfuse more than 100 units of blood every day and this new electronic system will improve our efficiency as well as standards for patient safety as it enables us to quickly verify a patient’s details and ensure they are matched to their treatment as intended,” she said. 

The trust will get fully rid of the paper-based system once it has trained around 1300 staff to use the handheld devices.