Increased funds requested to meet NHS paperless push

November 25th, 2013 | Posted by Kevin Corley in Information Management

Heads of trust at the National Health Service have noted they expect additional funding from the federal government in order to meet paperless initiative deadlines. Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt announced a goal of the NHS operating 100 percent paperless by 2018, but 60 percent of the NHS' heads of trust feel the white house administration should foot the bill.

Investing in document conversion services and paperless strategies can save significant time and money down the road, but the initial investments to get there are a priority for the NHS, as well as any other health care facility looking to make the same move. However, a recent survey of NHS employees found that many believe the 2018 deadline is too ambitious, and 2021 is a more reasonable expectation. Less than a fifth of the organizations IT leaders and decision makers felt 2018 was a realistic goal, though 54 percent of the groups heads of trust felt this way.

"Although there may be budget concerns and the need for better communication between heads of trusts and IT decision makers, we do need to be realistic, because it's no mean feat digitizing thousands upon thousands of medical files and processes within multiple departments and trusts across the country," Mark O'Herlihy, healthcare director EMEA at Perceptive Software, told Information Age.

Regardless of the date that the NHS is able to achieve its paperless goals, the initiative is an important one for improving quality of care and helping patients better understand their own medical history. By aiming for 100 percent paperless operations, the nation's health care administration is driving forward the ideal that digital records will improve medical practices across the nation. This initiative has been adopted by many practices already, and continues to become a key consideration in operational budgeting for hospitals and private offices.

As more health care facilities invest in paper conversion solutions though, they have to ensure they are meeting the security, privacy and efficiency needs of their industry. Investing in the right content management services will be critical for furthering paperless initiatives properly and doing so without risking compliance or patient safety.

"Whether the end goal is 2018 or 2021, 100% of heads of NHS trusts believe digitizing medical records will improve patient faith in the NHS," O'Herlihy said of the NHS' efforts. "At a time when patient centric care is the upmost priority, it's good to see that's what our healthcare system is aiming for." His words can be applied to any health care provider across the country.

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