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Furness General pilot set to bring ‘paper-less’ hospital one step closer

Staff member using the system.

[A] pilot scheme is taking place this month in the oncology outpatient department at Furness General Hospital. The scheme will see a paper based system replaced with a new more efficient, labour saving ‘electronic requesting and resulting functionality’ as part of the Trust’s ongoing Electronic Patient Record (EPR) programme.

Additional screens within the EPR allow staff to request x-rays and lab tests instantly that previously could only be done by completing a paper form that got delivered by hand to the lab or radiology department. Also, once the request has been performed staff can now see results by accessing the EPR rather than having to ring up the lab or radiology department.

The new way of working will eliminate the delays, bottlenecks and errors of paper-based systems and functions just as well across all our multiple sites as within a single hospital.

There are plans to roll out new way of working across all outpatient specialties over the coming months. It was first tested within pathology and radiology inpatient areas across all three main sites earlier in the year with great success and is now used in other areas such as audiology and cardiology.

Tony Crick, Lead Healthcare Professional and Deputy Divisional General Manager for Core Clinical Services, University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust (UHMBT), said: “It was not possible to get rid of paper altogether as part of phase 1 but this is a major step towards our ambition of becoming truly ‘Paper-Less’ with electronic requesting. We have seen significant benefits already within the laboratory and the roll out within inpatients has demonstrated that the main systems used within the hospital are fully integrated.”

Sandra Richardson, Project Manager for the roll out of requesting and resulting across inpatients, UHMBT, added: “This is a very exciting development with the potential to transform the way we work, providing clinicians with instant access to much better information that will help us provide the very best care for our patients.”

Aaron Cummins, Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Finance, UHMBT, said: “Using technology can really help us deliver better patient services and reduce the time spent by staff on paperwork. We want the EPR to make staffs working lives easier and in doing so give them more opportunities to deliver care in more effective ways for our patients.”

Over the past ten months UHMBT has attracted the attention of national and international colleagues for its work on the clinically-led EPR. Back in the summer the Trust’s Emergency Departments(ED) took a major step towards becoming ‘Paperlite’ by removing the paper CAS Card that was used in ED and replacing it with an Electronic CAS Chart available within the EPR.

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