Expert advice on how to achieve a paperless NHS

“In the era of ‘big data’, find out ways of exploiting data for patient benefit”

In light of Jeremy Hunt’s announcement that he wants NHS to ‘go paperless’ by 2018, Dr Paul Shannon, medical director at CSC and consultant anaesthetist at Doncaster Royal Infirmary offers advice on how doctors and trusts can embrace the digital.

His suggestions include:

  • Make more use of tools that are easily available, such as NHSmail, Choose and Book for outpatient referrals and Summary Care Record to find useful clinical information;
  • Automate the discharge summary;
  • Use ePrescribing instead of hand-written prescription – this can be standalone or integrated into an EPR;
  • Get into the habit of viewing results electronically rather than printing out paper – use a Single Sign On tool instead of remembering several login details;
  • Use any existing departmental systems as much as possible;
  • If electronic records exist, get rid of paper ones;
  • Develop a portal where data is pulled from different sources into a single area;
  • Keep informed about your trust’s IT strategy.

He concludes by saying: “Enjoy the digital revolution! The NHS is ‘data rich but information poor’. In the era of ‘big data’, find out ways of exploiting data for patient benefit and/or professional development.”

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