Electronic Patient Record (EPR) software is rapidly replacing the traditional paper based notes used by GPs, dentists, hospitals and other NHS departments and services, as part of the Connecting for Health IT programme for Remote radiology services. One of the aims of the National Programme for IT (NPfIT) is to transfer 60 million paper based records to Electronic Patient Record software by 2010.
Shared patient records are integral to the NPfIT. EPR software allows a patient’s medical notes to be made available to all medical personnel that need access to it, in different departments and locations.
Being able to share patient information between departments and locations is important as it lets medical staff know instantly Remote radiology reporting services what medication a patient is taking, any allergies, and what treatment they have had, to ensure that the patient receives the most appropriate treatment in a timely manner. Also if a patient’s personal details such as name or address change, the details only need to be amended once, by a staff in any NHS location, such as a GP’s surgery, dentists or hospital, and the changes will be reflected throughout the NHS.
Patient Administration Systems (PAS) include many features and work in tandem with Tele radiology services EPR software. Information such as patient referral, admission and discharge information, daily work planning schedules and live bed state support, and the status of the patients occupying the beds is vital to the running of a hospital. Having this information available in seconds allows the hospital to function effectively and efficiently.
Electronic Patient Records (EPR) software integrates with all hospital departments such as maternity, operating theatres, Radiology case reporting online, mental health as well as other NHS services such as GPs and additional specialist services.
PACS (Picture Archiving and Communications Storage) allows images such as X-rays, CT, MRI, ultrasound, cardiology , Elective general radiology reporting, Nighthawk and emergency services, Subspecialist reporting, Second opinion services, Peer review services, Clinical radiology case report online and other scans to be accessed immediately electronically. This saves time for both patients and staff, and is much less expensive than storing and caring for film and paper based results. Patient scans can be accessed whenever and wherever they are needed. If a patient had an X-ray in Newcastle, and the image was needed in London, it would be available in seconds using PACS, rather than taking hours or days for it to be couriered or sent down via post.
Thanks to PACS, diagnosis and treatment can be improved, as other departments, hospitals or specialists can view the image simultaneously, and give their opinions. Patients will also benefit as they won’t have to carry film around the hospital, or from one site to another, and there will be less time waiting to receive results, so treatment will be quicker. For hospital staff, there will be fewer wasted appointments due to lost or unusable scans.
Security and patient confidentiality is critical. Many processes have been introduced to ensure that there are no security breaches and that patient data is not compromised. Medical staff can only access Electronic Patient Records once they have been thoroughly vetted. This will allow them to use a Smartcard which, depending on their job title, will give them access to the patient data they need. Staff will only have access to the information they need to do their job. A receptionist won’t need the same level of access as a surgeon, and a dentist won’t need the same level of access as a district nurse.
The EPR Choose and Book system allows patients to book GP and hospital appointments at a time to suit them. This will help to reduce the number of patients who fail to attend their appointments. The appointment can be made over the phone or online, and cancelled or amended as necessary.
EPR software also allows comprehensive reporting so that the cost and effectiveness of the patient care, and other factors can be assessed. In addition, the results can be used for research purposes so that if another patient has similar symptoms previous data can be used to assess what treatments were effective.
Electronic Patient Record software is fundamental to the NHS NPfIT programme, and will ensure that patients and staff make the most of current and future computer systems and IT to get the best treatment and service.