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Kodak Alaris announces today that its partner, MISL, a UK-based bureau and BPO provider, is 24 months ahead of schedule and will have scanned all of The Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trusts’ patient medical records by Christmas 2015. Taking just 21 months, this is a significant achievement given around 750,000 patient files will have been digitized totalling some 300 million images.
MISL won the significant £4.5 million contract to provide document scanning services to The Royal Free in November 2013. The project has involved the digitisation of the hospital’s entire medical records archive and the ongoing scanning of patient information as new clinical notes are created, so-called day forward scanning. Originally the project was expected to take five years but MISL will complete the project early given the new processes put in place, the hard work of staff and investment in new technology which has boosted bureau productivity by over 20%.
One of the most famous medical centres in the country, The Royal Free is a teaching hospital located in Hampstead, north London. It offers world-class clinical expertise in kidney, liver and bone marrow transplants, breast and plastic surgery, and the treatment of tumors. It has achieved a number of ‘firsts’ in the UK – the first hospital to carry out a liver transplant between a live adult donor and a patient and the first to introduce a PET scan for breast cancer. Every year it treats around 68,000 inpatients and 500,000 outpatients.
Will Smart, The Royal Free’s chief information officer says, “Digitising our medical records library is in line with the Government’s QIPP agenda, Jeremy Hunt’s challenge that Trusts should be paperlite and, of course, our desire to keep improving patient care. Fast access to notes via computers delivers this and means our clinicians now have patient records right at their finger tips.”
To meet the specific contractual requirements, MISL hired new staff, leased a new building dedicated to the project and bought new IT equipment – an investment totaling £500,000. As part of this, MISL purchased five Kodak i5600 and six Kodak i5800 production scanners along with Kodak Capture Pro Network Edition imaging software.
Steven Clarke, MISL’s sales & marketing director, says, “So we hit our agreed SLA's2, minimised downtime, enhanced productivity and ensured we met BS100083 rules, we upgraded to the latest Kodak scanners. Dealing with medical records is not like scanning invoices or bank statements. You’re potentially playing with some-one’s life if there isn’t the level of quality in the images scanned. It’s very easy to forget this which is why we wanted the best equipment to do the job.”
MISL agreed various SLA's with The Royal Free depending on record type. For archive scanning, it had a five day turnaround from collection to image upload, two days for day forward scanning and two hours for Accident & Emergency records on receipt of files at the MISL bureau. Images have been securely transmitted via leased line to The Royal Free’s electronic document and records management (EDRM) system from Open Text.
Alastair Crisp, The Royal Free’s EDRM programme manager says, ”MISL has been sending us over 500,000 images per day which are loaded into Open Text and made available at the point of care for all clinicians.”
Given The Royal Free’s focus on transplant patients – of which there are over 600 – MISL has done all the scanning of these records onsite using a Kodak i5600 scanner, such is the importance of these notes.
Reliability of the scanning equipment is therefore paramount. “In tandem with image quality, service and support was crucial to the whole project and another reason why Kodak Alaris was selected,” says Francesca Foy, MISL’s operations manager. “Their service is second to none as we just couldn’t afford to have down time.”
In addition, MISL put in place robust disaster recovery plans to ensure business continuity. Clarke says, “We’ve tested our processes without Kodak Alaris even knowing it. Performance was excellent which provided us total confidence that we could meet all our commercial commitments to the Trust.”
MISL has seen a 20% improvement in operator productivity using the Kodak i5600 and i5800 production scanners in contrast to older equipment deployed at the bureau. The new scanners process 170 and 210 pages per minute respectively with no daily volume limits. Clarke says, “We’ve been working to tight margins so the 20% gain means we’ve hired 70 staff to service The Royal Free account not 84 – that’s a saving straight to our bottom line.”
Neil Murphy, Kodak Alaris’ UK sales manager says, “Reliability, performance, service and support are the hall marks of what makes us unique in the market. It’s writ large on The Royal Free project. Image quality is also key. MISL had to meet a 0.01% image failure rate target which it had done. This is a testament to the performance of Kodak Capture Pro imaging software which incidentally also has no click charges – perfect for cost sensitive bureaus where paper processing volumes are huge.”
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