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The George Eliot Hospital NHS Trust Goes Paperless: Saves Time and Increases Productivity

The George Eliot Hospital NHS Trust provides a wide range of hospital and community-based services to Nuneaton, Warwickshire, Leicestershire and Coventry. The hospital, which opened in 1948, provides accident and emergency services, elective and non-elective surgical services, as well as a host of women’s, children’s, diagnostic and therapeutic services to over 300,000 patients.

The Challenge

George Eliot Hospital NHS Trust needed to modernize its administrative processes to keep up with evolving industry demands. For the Trust, moving to a paperless solution to replace all of the paper clinical and non-clinical forms across the organization was a top priority. It needed an agile, electronic form solution that would streamline the form process, increase productivity, save overall costs and also accelerate the initiative mandated from NHS to be paperless by 2020.

“We are always looking to save from a financial perspective,” said Stuart Sidebottom, the Trust’s IT project manager. “We wanted to get rid of as much paper as possible.”

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The Trust had many paper-based forms and processes that needed to be made electronic, but its existing data capture solution required numerous steps to replicate data and create electronic forms. The Trust wanted a quicker solution that was easier to use and knew that involvement in the design process and buy-in from clinicians and their administrative teams would be critical to the adoption of any new platform.

The Solution

Although becoming a paperless trust is a top priority, it is a huge undertaking for a hospital of any size. After evaluating and considering several platforms, the Trust chose Alfresco’s Digital Business Platform as its electronic content management solution. The Alfresco Digital Business Platform connects people, processes and systems seamlessly to deliver content to the people who need it when they want it. The platform transforms how patient information is managed, shared and processed across the continuum of care.

Today, clinical and non-clinical forms can be created and changed much more quickly and easily in the new system. 

“Alfresco’s Digital Business Platform is much more agile when it comes to making quick changes,” said Sukhvinder Kaur Sehmbi, Analyst Programmer on the Systems Development and Integration Team. “Before Alfresco, depending on the process and how many forms were being created, when a change was made on one form, you would have to go back through and make changes on all of them. With the implementation, the process is made considerably easier because it provides a central form library that can be referenced by multiple processes.”

Despite the benefits of Alfresco, as with any change management initiative, full user buy-in can take time.

“Many times, we will get a request from a department for a paper form to be transitioned to Alfresco and made electronic, but we have to wait for buy-in from the members of the team before we can proceed,” said Sidebottom. “We’re in an ever-changing environment and have to show them what we can do with Alfresco and why it is better than their current process. But when it is in production, adoption is very high.”

The Results

The Trust’s referral process has been streamlined and accelerated. In the past, paper referrals would have to be filled out by clinicians or team members and physically carried or mailed to another department. With Alfresco, information can be entered directly onto a computer or mobile device and files and referrals can be instantly submitted to clinicians online – eliminating much of the administrative burden.

Since the platform went live four months ago, there have been numerous requests from multiple departments for more forms to be digitized.

“It has been very beneficial for us. It works, it’s quicker and people are happy with it,” said Sidebottom. “Alfresco is able to process our paper forms and make them electronic and ultimately streamlines the process to get better outcomes for our patients.

Healthcare Business Today is a leading online publication that covers the business of healthcare. Our stories are written from those who are entrenched in this field and helping to shape the future of this industry. Healthcare Business Today offers readers access to fresh developments in health, medicine, science, and technology as well as the latest in patient news, with an emphasis on how these developments affect our lives.

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