NHS launches £100m fund so nurses can work paperlessly

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The NHS has launched the Nursing Technology Fund, earmarking £100 million to reduce paperwork and improve patient care.

This week, the NHS launched the Nursing Technology Fund – a £100 million pool that trusts and hospitals will be able to bid for payouts from, which they’ll put towards improving front-line patient care with devices like tablets, smartphones and laptops.

The fund was originally announced by David Cameron in October 2012. In the interim, pressure on the NHS to improve the technology it uses has only grown stronger – earlier this year, health secretary Jeremy Hunt challenged the public health service to go paperless by 2018.

Indeed, here in the UK the NHS has cast a long shadow over the digitisation debate. The organisation’s efforts to go paperless in the past have stumbled over mismanagement and budget overruns, leading some to doubt that Jeremy Hunt’s vision can be delivered on.

However, it’s widely agreed that the transition will ultimately improve patient care – there’s just a lot the NHS needs to do before it can happen. According to a survey by wireless technology company Spectralink, published yesterday (December 11th) in Computing, 61 per cent of nurses still use handwritten notes and verbal communication to share information on patients. Meanwhile, 34 per cent use electronic records, but don’t rely on them all the time as they need to be accessed through a desktop terminal.

According to Spectralink, previous research has found 45 minutes of nurses’ time per day could be saved if they had access to these electronic records at all time. "We frequently see these highly-trained professionals spending far too much time on administrative tasks and being forced to use inefficient communication methods because they are not given the tools to help them do their jobs more efficiently," said director Simon Watson.

The Nursing Technology Fund should go some way toward remedying this – not to mention help the NHS push forward with efforts to go paperless by 2018.

If your organisation is working on a similar transition, can you guarantee your workers will be able to take advantage of the data you capture? Or will they end up using paper because it’s too time-consuming to log onto a computer?

Dajon’s electronic document management system has a simple browser-based interface, so users can find the data they need regardless of the device they’re using. To discuss how we can help your organisation, give us a call today.

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