Feature Content

Feature: insights and best practice in navigating digital transformation

Content by Kodak Alaris

In January, Graham Etherington, solutions sales director at Kodak Alaris participated in a panel discussion with Rob Birkett, CDIO at Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust (CHFT), and Dr Paul Wright, GP and deputy clinical director/IT clinical lead at NHS Greater Manchester and CCIO at Manchester and Trafford Local Care Organisation.

This article delves deeper into and expands on some of the insights gleaned from the in-depth discussion where Rob and Paul spoke candidly about their experiences implementing digital transformation programmes – from some of the challenges they faced, to successes achieved.

Graham explains how Kodak Alaris has helped many NHS trusts navigate the challenges around digital transformation, enabling them to transform legacy paper-intensive processes and drive internal efficiencies to deliver improved patient care and outcomes.

“We’ve been working with NHS trusts for over three decades, capturing and managing data, and making sure that data is accurate,” he said, adding: “We’re now working with trusts and guiding them to do what they do best – working with people and helping people. We’re making sure their data is correct when they go into the patient records, and when they need to go through the system.”

A continued wave of transformation

The transformation programme at CHFT, has been ongoing since 2015. Rob explained that it started off with a tactical programme that looked at replacing a lot of older systems, which preceded a “big bang” EPR go-live.

“We tried a couple of times at landing big optimisation programmes off the back of that go-live, but due to the costs and financial pressures across the system, they never really got off the ground. So, what we’ve done instead is we’ve broken that down into smaller pieces, and we’ve looked at things that have caused us issues within the trust, and how we can take the solid digital foundation we’ve got to make improvements.”

Graham concurs: “As Rob says, breaking things down into smaller pieces is an effective strategy. Kodak Alaris has completed many projects within trust’s medical records management departments, making sure their data is correct is imperative, and there’s two areas that we look at – the forward scanning and the back scanning.

“For example, University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust (UH Bristol) which comprises nine hospital sites, had an incredibly large medical records library – about 1.5 million active patient records and in the region of another million non-active records that had to be retained. Despite seven large libraries onsite to store records, it also had over 200,000 records stored securely off-site, and the associated cost was substantial,” he explained.

UH Bristol had a small in-house scanning bureau, however, the volumes it was scanning were quite small – the legacy bureau processed a couple of hundred sheets per week, scanning archive notes etc. into an old trust-based system.

Digitise records on-demand

The primary driver for accelerating and extending the trust’s digital transformation was to mitigate the risk around having separate patient casenotes for separate sites. Adopting a site by site approach, the starting point was to digitise records on-demand.

Working in partnership, Kodak Alaris and Kainos supported the trust in expanding its in-house scanning capability, installing ten scanners from Kodak Alaris and deploying the Kainos Evolve Electronic Medical Record (EMR) system.

“Prior to a patient attending an elective appointment their information was scanned and migrated into the Kainos Evolve platform. The digital file relating to that hospital was then available to all clinicians who could access it. This allowed each hospital to have their own ‘go-live’, without impacting records at other sites. This promoted a slick and successful business change management process in each of the hospitals,” Graham explained.

Back scanning old libraries was also conducted in the background, with the end goal of achieving an entirely paper casenote free environment site by site, and repurposing the space previously used for medical records libraries for clinical use.

Managing and understanding data key to success

Graham continued: “It’s about engaging with the NHS trust – it’s about having those conversations and guiding them to relieve some other pressures that they have at the back office that nobody sees, to take away that pain of manually extracting documents and manually checking documents and improve that patient records system.

“We’re looking at how they do their quality audits and making sure that, as they’ve moved forward, they get the right information from the right patient. We find it encouraging that people want to engage on this now, and I think managing data and understanding that data is the key to success.”

Return on investment

Scanners from Kodak Alaris are certified by the leading EMR vendors and have won many industry awards for image quality, data accuracy, and reliability. The simple integration with healthcare systems allows for efficient data capture from various document types directly into EMR systems, eliminating the need for manual data entry.

Kodak Alaris’ approach means trusts benefit from one platform and one supplier, which, says Graham, delivers a quick return on investment. “Instead of being over five years or three years, it can be a 12-to-18-month period, which helps with budgeting,” he said.

As a case in point, he explained how by using scanners from Kodak Alaris to drive unprecedented productivity, St Helens & Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust digitised over 135,000 medical records at its two hospital sites.

“The trust’s primary objective was to improve patient safety and care by improving access to patient records and it also stated a desire to achieve cost savings across time and file storage. Partnering with Kodak Alaris helped the trust achieve £1.4 million annual savings from a £1.2 million investment,” Graham said.

Kodak Alaris also helped Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust complete an electronic medical records system to digitise 450,000 patient records. “There was a strong RoI here too. The project delivered savings totalling £1 million per year in reduced operating costs and £1.6 million per annum in improved efficiencies across the trust.”

Bringing data together

Graham continued: “We’ve been developing our data product KODAK Info Input Solution and we’re working with trusts to bring data together, where you can have information coming from a physical document, a PDF, or an electronic file, and we can pass it through to the care systems, or the EPR systems, within one platform, making it a really seamless process that will bring a lot of advantages.”

As part of its goal to exploit the potential of digital technologies to better engage with patients and enhance care quality; University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust (UHB),  selected Kodak Alaris and its partner Insight to assist them in driving internal efficiencies by improving the quality and accessibility of patient health records to clinicians.

Kodak Alaris evaluated the trust’s existing processes for scanning patient referrals into its content management platform and recommended integrating the capture function within line of business systems to remove complexity and enable frontline medical staff to capture and file relevant content at their desktop.

With the new solution, instead of passing hard copy documents onto a third-party for scanning and filing in the correct place, a process which typically has a 24-48-hour lead time, the clinician can now capture and file in real-time.

The solution is powered by an Info Input Solution scan button app within the UHB’s existing IBM Coach Web portal that is connected to the trust’s fleet of scanners including the KODAK i2400 Scanner and the KODAK i40 Scanner mid-volume production models.

Using the embedded scan button and a connected scanner, staff can digitise paper documents and upload the digital records into its legacy EMC Documentum content management system right at the beginning of the patient’s journey.

The KODAK Info Input Solution software determines the document type for correct processing after scanning and converts all scanned digital uploads to a bi-tonal searchable PDF file format. Furthermore, document images and subsequent metadata input via the trust’s IBM Coach application is stored in the relevant patient folder located in the UHB’s 7.1 EMC Documentum system.

In conclusion, Graham said: “We’re making sure that every piece of information and data is correct and accurate, to bring that performance and productivity to the front end, whilst really looking after the patients.

“We’re hoping to bring the awareness to our partners in the NHS trusts we’ve been working with for over three decades on data capture and data management, that we’re here to help, we’re here to guide, and we can help with data transformation, especially in the one-platform scenario.”

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