Focusing on document scanning

Source: NHE Sep/Oct 17

As the NHS focuses on achieving ever-greater savings, Vinny Butler, service delivery manager at NHS Prescription Services, describes how the organisation has highlighted its document scanning operation as a massive efficiency opportunity.

The NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) is a special health authority operating as an arm’s-length body of the Department of Health. We deliver a range of core services to the NHS including the processing of all prescriptions dispensed in the community in England. The scale of our operation is immense, with one billion prescription items being processed each year, as well as 44 million forms for dental activity. As a result, we have become home to Europe’s largest public sector scanning operation, and with more than 20 years’ experience we have established a team of experts in the field. 

One of NHSBSA’s strategic aims is to save the NHS £1bn by 2020. As part of this commitment, the expansion of our document scanning operation as a business offering to NHS organisations has been identified as an important opportunity.  

Digitising medical records not only allows for speedier retrieval and greater efficiency at the point of reference, thus enabling better healthcare, but also releases valuable space used for storing archived records, many of which may never actually be retrieved. Digitising these records therefore offers massive potential across the NHS to release space and increase capacity for frontline patient care, while also making significant annual cost savings. 

Over the last two years the NHSBSA has been working to create the ideal facility for managing projects of any type or size, from GP medical records to scanning the archives of NHS trusts or undertaking day-forward scanning. We have invested in a suite of Opex scanners across two of our sites to enable us to scan medical records in multiple formats, and have established partnerships to deliver Electronic Document Management System (EDMS) and Optical Character Recognition (OCR) for a full digitisation package. To aid the procurement process we have also secured a place on a prestigious NHS framework. 

We have several pilot projects already in progress, and this summer we secured another contract with a large NHS trust to scan 60 million documents over two-and-a-half years. We have also partnered with three CCGs to set up the digitisation of GP practices in their areas. Our service includes production of a service delivery model and operational timescale, transport logistics, document indexing and scanning, secure destruction and electronic transfer of scanned images via the N3 network or an encrypted external storage device. 

As part of the NHS, we are acutely aware of the increasing pressures to reduce costs and maximise efficiency, and understand the challenges faced by NHS organisations. This unique position and insight means we can be NHS partners rather than suppliers, able to build long-term relationships and with a genuine desire to use our expertise to help solve problems. With our track record of service excellence we aim to be the delivery partner of choice for all NHS organisations, helping to support a better NHS.




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