Up to 1000 iPads could be given to clinicians to access electronic patient records
NHS staff at Bradford teaching hospitals foundation trust could soon be using iPads to view the organisation’s electronic patient record system under a programme to digitise paper processes at the trust.
Bradford has signed a deal with technology firm Kainos to supply, implement and manage the full integration of an iPad front-end with its existing Kainos Evolve electronic patient record (EPR) system.
Brent Walker, chief information officer at the trust, told Guardian Government Computing that it could roll out up to 1000 iPads to staff as part of the major digitisation project. He said that the organisation has “shed loads” of paper being used by clinicians that it hopes to make electronic. While staff will still write on paper, these notes will be scanned and processed through an electronic document management system, so employees can refer to an electronic record.
“The traditional way we were going to do that was through desktop software, PCs and that was fine. But the mobile bit, particularly ward-based processes, was always going to be a bit of a struggle. We were planning on using traditional handheld PC computers and other devices, but we recognised it wasn’t going to cut the mustard for us when it came to properly supporting the processes,” said Walker.
Instead, the trust has opted for an iPad application version of Kainos’ software, which Walker said will exploit the tools that can be built into iPad applications.
“The usability of software coupled with the device meant that this was a very attractive proposition, and from a business perspective, iPads are literally a third of the price of the traditional PCs we were looking at before,” said Walker.
“So from a cost effectiveness perspective they were very attractive because we could afford a number of mobile clinical devices in our business case. We are now potentially going to be rolling out the iPads to every single doctor who works for us as their own device.”
The trust is now considering mobile device management software. Walker said it will be important to ensure the iPads are fully protected. This will be done through means such as encryption and pass codes.
Acknowledging that there may be a challenge around separating personal use from clinical work, Walker said the tablets will be managed in the same principle as the existing mobile infrastructure, which currently includes restricting access where necessary – staff currently using mobile devices can access basic functions such as corporate email.
The trust hopes implementing the technology will make it more efficient as records will be moved from place to place much faster, and will be more readily available to staff.
Walker said he hopes the roll out of the software will start to go live in July on a small scale at the hospital’s ear, nose and throat (ENT) service, but said he couldn’t give an exact date as to when iPads will become part of this as the final details were still being worked out.
He anticipates the complete software and iPad roll out will take around two years, but said it could take up to 10 years to get rid of all the paper at the trust.
“It requires a big cultural change,” he added.
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