Scottish health board goes paperless


NHS Dumfries and Galloway introduces digital scanning and data storage solution

NHS Dumfries and Galloway is using new software to digitally scan and store legacy paper records while it builds a new hospital to replace the Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary.

The dartEDM software has been developed by the Nottinghamshire-based Plumtree Group and will allow clinicians to quickly and easily view and update patient records on computers across the NHS health board area, which covers a population of more than 148,000 across south west Scotland.

This week marks the go-live date for the contract, which was won in December 2011 and commenced in February 2012.

Ben Dorks, group director of the Plumtree Group, said: “It has been ground-breaking to enable this Scottish health board to become ‘paper-light’ in just 12 months as processes of this type normally take up to four years. It will significantly reduce paper usage within the local NHS and is expected to achieve a return on investment within the year.

“The system we have set up has operational benefits in terms of cost, people, storage and logistics. There are improvements in efficiency as case notes do not go missing, governance and audit, and clinicians can read the records with instant access online, in real time, at the point of need. There is no manual archiving, no lost documents; just instant retrieval at the touch of a button.

“Traditionally such systems are seen as difficult to implement because of the transformational change required in organisations, but this process is seamless and painless.”

The software is being used in conjunction with Opex DS2200 one-touch document scanners.

Graham Gault, head of information management and technology at NHS Dumfries and Galloway, said: “Our aim is to present clinicians with the information they require, when and where they require it, and to offer best care to patients.”

Sign up for your free email newsletter

Through the system, notes and documents can be scanned and published into dartEDM and general office documents can be easily added through the desktop or direct from Microsoft Office. Documents are indexed on content and can also include several index fields for specific search and retrieval. Users can search more than ten million documents instantly, email, fax or print documents in seconds, and use a document note manager and call back facility.