The U.K.’s National Health Service is looking to go completely paperless by 2018 after announcing that it wants to make more information available digitally by 2014. Orlando Agrippa, associate director of business informatics (analytics) at Colchester hospital university NHS foundation trust, wrote in an opinion piece on The Guardian’s website that other businesses should use this initiative as a jumping off point for their own journey into a paperless existence by using technology like document management and imaging solutions.
“I see the paperless NHS challenge as one which requires simple solutions which everyone can relate to,” he wrote. “Without this sort of thorough process, the task is virtually impossible. … We have all the tools we need to get this done, we just need to mobilize the troops and deliver more visibility for better patient care.”
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt challenged healthcare organizations in the U.K. to have paperless goals set for 2018. UK.gov said by 2015, Hunt wants everyone who wishes to access their records be able to do so online and receive paperless referrals. By 2018, digital information should be fully available across NHS and other social care service agencies.
Overcoming paperless system adoption challenges
Agrippa said he has spent much of the last 10 years working with healthcare companies trying to go paperless, but he has come up against numerous challenges. One is that many are struggling to use the technology to properly gather insight from documents and data, with another problem being that these organizations are wary about using the data.
“A fresh approach to technology needs to be encouraged and a lot of people within the NHS are unfortunately holding back the utilization of existing technology,” he wrote. “To drive the paperless shift, you need to have the right people on board to get behind it. There needs to be a general push on hiring the right people to instigate the change across the organization.”
Paperless systems, whether accomplished through document management or electronic health records, should be implemented because of the clear cut benefits it can bring to any organization.