April 10, 2013 – St Helens & Knowsley Health Informatics Service (StHK HIS) today announces that Grove House Practice in Runcorn, Cheshire, is the first GP surgery in the UK to use its new hosted electronic Lloyd George Records Service to digitise its complete library, comprising 13,000 legacy patient records.
This will release much needed space in the surgery for clinical activities, improve efficiency, enhance the availability of patient information for medical and support staff, and remove the substantial costs and risks associated with physical records management in primary care. Ultimately it allows practice staff to focus on offering a better service to patients rather than time being spent on unproductive administrative tasks.
The electronic Lloyd George Records Service (e-LGS) is the first solution of its kind in the NHS and comprises a fully managed end-to-end service covering records collection, notes scanning, data hosting, training and support, and portal software. Managed by NHS experts, e-LGS is a secure, easy to set up, and cost effective solution to an old problem.
Dr. David Wilson, Senior Partner GP, Grove House Practice, says, “Digitisation and removal of the Lloyd George records is a logical step given it’s the only area not computerised within our surgery. The benefits are immediate: practice efficiency and space realisation. Removing our racking systems for notes means more room available for clinical care. This is crucial as our role in the NHS broadens and we take on more counselling services, GP registrar training, and some work shifts from secondary to primary care.”
This means that e-LGS now stores all patient information from before the year 2000 which is when Grove House Practice stopped physically writing notes on sheets and switched to an electronic clinical system. The practice has 11,000 patients and 13,000 patient envelopes [some patients have more than one envelope]. In terms of storage, this took up a third of its reception area which will now be repurposed.
Grove House Practice staff access the system using a standard Internet browser, and once logged in, the portal displays four chapters: patient correspondence (letters), continuation cards, results and summary reports.
Joanne Hughes, Deputy Practice Manager, explains, “Information is now available at a touch of a button. You select a patient, choose the appropriate chapter and this allows you to review all the scanned documents associated with that individual. It’s a simple viewing tool which allows you to magnify and print documents if you want, and required just 10 minutes of training to use.”
Although Lloyd George records are not usually used in day-to-day patient consultations, it is obligatory for practices to keep them as they are often required by GPs when reports are written for solicitors, insurers and other officials, and access to historical patient information is needed.
With paper, records would be requested, a receptionist dispatched to find and deliver the files, and then a GP would have to unravel pages of crumpled and dusty sheets to locate the section required, with everything then put back afterwards. Furthermore, practice staff would have to photocopy pages for reports and also send files to its local health authority when patients change surgeries.
Jacky Slator, Practice Manager, says, “We estimate we were spending at least half a day per a week moving and copying files. Today, everything is available online when we need it and if we need to export data, it’s done using encrypted discs.”
In addition to the financial, space and information access benefits, e-LGS is simple to administer, removes the risk of paper being incorrectly filed, improves the working environment as clutter is removed, and preserves information as digitising content eliminates the issue of paper medical records deteriorating over time [crucial as some paperwork can be over 50 years old].
The electronic Lloyd George Records Service is offered to all GP practices in the UK and was created through a partnership between StHK HIS and electronic document management software (EDMS) vendor, CCube Solutions, with Kodak scanners used for digitising records.
All patient data is hosted and backed-up securely and managed by StHK HIS in its fully resilient datacentres.