NHS trust to use iPads for real-time access to patient records

An NHS trust in the Midlands is planning to equip medical staff and community nurses with iPads to give real-time access to patient records on the move.

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An NHS trust in the Midlands is planning to equip medical staff and community nurses with iPads to give real-time access to patient records on the move.

South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust (SWFT) is to digitise its paper-based library of medical records and provide staff with mobile devices to access the information from the bedside in hospitals or while in the community visiting patients at home.

Duncan Robinson, associate director of ICT at SWFT, said the plan will change the way staff work.

“Whether in an acute or community setting, there is significant duplication of information. Paper can’t be in two places at once. Ultimately, flexible, simultaneous electronic access to the latest patient information will free up clinical time and improve patient care,” he said.

The trust hopes to use other mobile functions such as online mapping, so district nurses can plan the best route for their rounds.

“Whether in the community or at the bedside, the aim is to be mobile,” said Robinson.

Implementation of the project began in January and is expected to last two years. By June, SWFT hopes to have installed a document management system from supplier Kainos, which will help the trust to scan its paper-based records into a database of electronic records. Kainos was chosen partly because it could demonstrate its mobile access to its software through an iPad, said Robinson.

The NHS is increasingly looking to mobile technology to improve patient care, particularly through greater use of telehealth for community care and patients to self-monitor their symptoms at home rather than take up valuable bed space in hospitals.

For example, earlier this year the Department of Health (DH) launched a programme called Three Million Lives, to bring together healthcare organisations and the IT industry to boost telehealth services. DH research suggests that three million people with long-term medical conditions could benefit from telehealth, potentially reducing NHS costs while allowing patients to remain at home rather than in hospital or care.

Photo source: Apple.com

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What an utter waste of money. Electronic Patient Records was supposed to be delivered by the NPfIT. First off none of the clinical systems built for EPR were built for the iOS platform. Because the Coalition trashed the NPfIT now Trusts are creating their own modern EPR's which completely defeats the object of the unified platform that was requirde originally which for a fact would have provided better health care by making the records accessible from any hospital. 
Secondly there are few doctors who would even find this of any use at all. Most are not IT literate enough. And a handheld device for a key system like patient records is postively a hindrance. Couple this with the fact that the iPad offers little to no commensurate return and you have your typical NHS IT debacle.

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Using the iPad is the logical choice as no other tablet offers the same manufacturer reliability, software ecosystem and guarantee of suture support.

I'm encouraged by this project as it avoids the usual NHS monolithic project that is often doomed to failure and instead represents a trust making inroads in of itself to change things under their control. 

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I am amazed at how negative commentary can be. I am sure that the trust concerned has examined the advantages and the work required.  They will also have looked at alternatives.  They do not have to give their reasons, but like so many others who have been negatively reported, those reasons are seldom accepted by the nay-sayers.  Actually, the iPad will bring many workplace advantages - even extending more IT literacy into the services.  I tried to get a local authority to look at iPads in an open, experimental way - backed up by great stats.  The result?  Apparently my use of the iPad (my own) was not well received, even though it proved a real boon, saving time, increasing productivity et al....  In the end it helped make me redundant.  "They'll never catch on here" said HoD.
See: http://www.johnarudkin.net/pag...

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