The Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust has announced that it is to digitise all of its paper care records across the organisation.

The move is aimed at ensuring that records are available where and when they are needed and is part of the Department of Health's NHS Digital Health Strategy to make the NHS paperless by 2018.

Records being digitised include legacy case notes such as X-rays, MRI scans and blood tests and the Royal Free is working with Enterprise Information Management (EIM) provider OpenText to complete the process. OpenText's cloud-based EIM platform, Content Suite, will be used to store, manage and make available digitised records in a secure way.

Logistic challenge

Will Smart, the director of information management & technology at the Royal Free, explained that accessing accurate and timely patient data is key to to delivering quality patient care and that the aim of using OpenText is make such data easily available to front-line staff.

"For a complex hospital environment like ours, managing patient care using paper case-notes has been logistically very challenging," explained Smart. "Tracking and moving paper case notes across a large physical estate has made it difficult to ensure that these are available where and when they are needed and has required a large administrative team. By digitising these case-notes we have the opportunity to improve the quality of the services we provide whilst reducing costs."

OpenText is itself in the process of encouraging organisations to prepare their EIM for the future with it "2020 Agenda". The scheme takes into account the customer experience, workplace systems, digital supply chain and governance.

"By 2020, there will be a number of disruptive forces converging including, new technologies such as 3D printing and wearable technology; digital disruption surrounding how consumers and organisations buy through new supply chains; and a new kind of workforce, 50 per cent of which will be digital natives," said Mark Barrenechea, president and chief executive officer at OpenText. "Our customers must now transform their businesses, digitising every process, to maximise competitiveness and effectiveness."