Feature: digitising records during Covid

In April we covered the news of an independent document sharing platform that was launched by CCube Solutions to support providers and health professionals access information during the COVID-19 crisis.

The company released a cloud-based platform for healthcare teams to be able to access the information they need, from anywhere, without needing to move or manage paper.

HTN asked Vijay Magon, CEO, CCube Solutions a few questions to find out more:

Vijay said: We launched this service for free during COVID so we can help where we can. It’s important that information is available to who needs it and that we reduce contact points and handovers between people wherever possible. The new service supports those who are remote working and transferring pathways to digital.

Since the outset we have been looking at how we can help to reduce face-to-face contact to protect patients and staff and minimise the risk of Covid-19 infection.

Most NHS sites hold patient data on a variety of different media, including, paper, microfilm and digital. Although some areas have introduced bespoke databases allowing storage and audit, the majority rely on more traditional means. It is currently very difficult to identify exactly what information may be held on a given patient. Some departments compile their own copy of the patients’ medical records, specific to their department’s needs, with the main objective being access to information when it’s required.

A physical medical record is usually handled 12-18 times before, during and after a consultation, so how can we protect staff, and minimise chances for infection within a Hospital?

We found the way we can help is to provide the technology to minimise handling of physical notes and records and support remote consultations via virtual clinics, and ensure patient information is available at the point of need.

Could you tell me how the service supports Remote Consultations and Virtual Clinics?

Virtual Clinics are viewed as crucial for reducing unnecessary outpatient visits, saving time and money for patients and the health service. The NHS aims to avoid up to a third of face-to-face outpatient visits over five years, removing the need for up to 30 million outpatient appointments each year.

The CCube Solutions Electronic Document and Records Management (EDRM) system, in widespread use in the NHS, offers the chance for Hospitals to modernise their practices and embrace a culture of effective and compliant information management principles. The technology facilitates the electronic capture, storage & management, and delivery of digital records at the point of need, and ensure high levels of compliance, security and audit – it will enable Hospitals to minimise dependencies and process in-efficiencies due to paper and “information silos”, and help to deliver care via remote consultations.

What are some of the key learnings from your customer projects?

First it isn’t just about the capture of paper records to cut through backfile issues. It is vital to understand that simply digitising paper records is not enough – the solution must offer facilities to stop producing new paper through generation, management, and integration of ongoing (electronic) records – in order to minimise or eliminate the paper chase. Using technology to add value to scanned records is enabling practioners to access and view legacy casenotes in a manner consistent with how they access and view ongoing and new information, regardless of how the legacy casenotes are digitised.

Second, the document is the vehicle for content which must be searchable and integrated with the core hospital systems and practices. The electronic medical record cannot sit in a document management system that remains un-connected with other hospital systems and processes. A key role of any solution must be to enable exchange of patient information between various and numerous health care systems. Consequently, interoperability is essential in order to be able to adapt and send, for example, a patient test result or receive a patient order in the appropriate format from one system to another.

Thirdly, to be optimally effective the electronic record has to be delivered to key users when and where they need it. Each hospital will have many different user roles, each with their own specific requirements and, consequently, their specific need for patient information. A solution which offers a standard interface for all users will provide limited functionality to most users, especially those who work under time constraints and under pressure – these users care less about the back-end processes!

IT solutions must recognise this and ensure that the patient information displayed on a screen is meaningful to the user and the user’s role. Such a model can be readily extended to include relevant third-parties engaged in delivering patient care, such as GPs, Social Services, etc. to share and collaborate. Optimised delivery services for digital records which will provide practioners the ability to access patient information anywhere and support virtual clinics.

Once records are digitised, how can these be accessed, used, and shared effectively, to support remote consultations and virtual clinics?

The hosted document sharing platform can be used for storing, managing, and delivering the digital files and for users to access these online to support remote consultations and virtual clinics when needed. In collaboration with our scanning service partners we can collect and scan patient notes, mapped to patient activity, such as outpatient appointments. It provides remote access to patient information – with setup and switch to live use in under 4 weeks. This can support remote consultations and virtual clinics – viewed as crucial for reducing unnecessary outpatient visits, saving time and money for patients and the health service. This means it can help improve engagement with patients and is delivered through connectivity via N3/HSCN to ensure that delivery of care to non-Covid patients can continue, to help avoid issues in the future and minimise revenue losses.