British hospital loses large volume of patient data

September 27th, 2012 | Posted by Kevin Corley in Document and Information Capture

When individuals go to the doctor's office or hospital, they usually don't consider the time and effort put in by staff to make sure each visit is properly documented and added to the patient's medical history. Patients also don't tend to think about the ways these files are stored.

Because we live in an internet age, many may believe files are stored using an electronic information management system. While this is an increasing trend, because it can save the office space and time spent manually searching for records, unless companies are investing in the latest technologies, things can be lost.

At the United Kingdom's Imperial College Healthcare, which runs four London-area hospitals, there was recently a large loss of patient data because of antiquated systems, the BBC reported. Because of a management backup, patient situations that were called into review weren't being addressed for three years after the incidents were reported. Many of the files were misplaced.

"We have implemented new systems for records patient information, improved staff training and radically changed management structures," the trust's chief executive, Mark Davies, told the BBC.

Even if digitization requirements are in place, administrators need to remember that their systems are only as good as the technology used and the people recording the files.

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