Electronic document management solution improves communication with GPs
Camden & Islington NHS Foundation Trust has implemented the Docman EDT Hub to transfer patient letters electronically to GP practices.
The Docman solution is linked to RiO, the trust’s core EPR system, to send patient letters electronically to 38 surgeries in Camden. These include discharge summaries, admission summaries, leaving plans, CPA reviews and clinic letters.
The implementation has helped to improve communication with GPs, reduced paper communication and associated costs, led to safer transfer of patient information, and reduced reliance on fax machines to communication information.
Ali Perry, business transformation and project manager at the mental health trust, said: “We aimed to streamline the process for how we communicate with GPs. There was no formal method across our organisation for sending information to GPs, so one solution to transfer everything was ideal.
“The pilot objective was to communicate discharge summaries via EDT Hub. As discharge summaries make up only a small portion of what we send to GPs, the scope was extended after the pilot to include all documents currently sent to GPs. We wanted to be able to send everything electronically to GP practices. Before using the hub our organisation would send information by email, fax and through the post to practices, which we estimated to cost £1.20 per letter. By transferring letters electronically the postal, stationary, ink, printing and some admininstration costs can be removed.
“Although the level of integration with RiO is confined by the national programme, the trust has worked closely with PCTI, which developed Docman, to ensure the process of producing and sending documents is a lean as possible for the user. The streamlined process is reflected in the high number of documents sent via Docman and overall good compliance in teams.
“As part of the project we standardised and improved the quality of the letter templates on RiO to contain the information stakeholders wanted. The use of these templates has risen dramatically since the project went live. Staff have fed back that these templates reduce typing and save time. This combined with improved standardisation have been the indirect benefits of Docman.
“By sending documents electronically we have improved data quality, saved time and ensured a structured process for sending documents to GP practices. We have improved communication with GPs and now have proof of sending documents. The transfer of the information over the secure N3 network has ensured patient safety and provides us with the knowledge that nothing will get lost. Information sent electronically is easier to read, sent in desired timescales and streamlines many processes in our organisations and the practices.”
The trust now plans to connect a further nine neighbouring practices to the hub and to deploy the solution among GPs in Islington.