The opening of Glasgow’s new £842 million super hospital has been a “catalyst” towards moving to a paper-free environment, its IT lead has said.
Head of IT at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Robin Wright told Digital Health News that all of the city’s hospital sites have been working over recent years to reduce dependence on paper.
“The new hospital has been a particular catalyst because it was built without record storage facilities and we didn’t make assumptions about paper being part of the equation. We’ve still got some paper we would rather not have, but we’re working through those issues,” he explained.
South Glasgow University Hospitals’ adult hospital opened on 27 April with 1,109 en-suite patient rooms all equipped with freeview, radio and Wi-Fi.
More than 10,000 staff are based at the hospital and all consultant staff were given a mobile device when they started working there.
“The hospital has been purpose-built to be electronically run so it’s flooded with wireless and fully equipped with new equipment so we have the benefit of being able to offer people mobile devices from day one,” said Wright.
It also features robot porters that operate in underground tunnels in the basement.
“The place is geared up to adopt technology as the norm,” he added.
The new hospital has a number of “cornerstone” systems.
InterSystems’ TrakCare is used as a patient administration system and for order communications and some clinical correspondence.
An Orion portal “is the main vehicle for delivering an EPR.
“The clinical portal is the default medium for accessing patient records and on the back of that we’re now starting to withdraw paper and reduce dependency on case notes,” Wright said.
Paper notes are no longer routinely used in outpatients, instead clinicians view patient records on the clinical portal, which has around 26,000 views a day. They can add to the EPR via 60-70 e-forms.
Wright said the board has not done any back-scanning of records because the portal has been being populated for around ten years, providing a good history for staff to work with.
Electronic nursing documentation was introduced, but had to be withdrawn due to problems and is being “revamped”.
“We haven’t got to the stage yet where we can withdraw paper from inpatient wards, but over the next year to 18-months we plan to do that,” said Wright.
The board also plans to implement e-prescribing over the next 18 months to three years.
Some GPs have access to the portal to check their patients’ information and there are plans to expand access to all GPs.
Community nurses also have portal access using 600 mobile devices that have been distributed to the service.
The next stage is to get GP data into the portal. The Scottish GP emergency care summary is currently being added and the board is in negotiations around getting a bigger information extract from primary care.
Glasgow recently recruited three chief clinical information officers who together make up one full-time role, “to give a push to greater adoption by doctors and to make sure that when we put technology in its fit for purpose,” Wright said.
They took up post on 1 April and their appointments is already starting to yield benefits, he said.