Wireless tracking system for hospital records helps drive towards Electronic Patient Records
30 May 2013

The new web-based radio frequency identification system has been installed within the hospital to replace the current case note tracking system. All patient records will be tagged with RFID (Radio Frequency) bar codes and staff will have new wireless bar code readers to speed up the process of locating and filing patient record files.

The hospital has also opened a temporary additional medical records library to make more space for storing patient notes during the transition period. Ultimately the hospital will need less space for storing medical records.

Edna Cahill, Tameside Hospital’s Head of Record Management, said: “This is a major modernisation of our medical records system and it is a huge improvement for staff and patients.

“The new system is state-of-the-art and much more user-friendly. We will be able to locate records more quickly and speed up the filing process. This means the turn around of notes will be much quicker.

Edna said: “We have installed RFID across the whole hospital site to enable us to implement this modern tracking system. In the future, this will speed up many processes and will not be used just for patient notes. It is a major investment in the hospital and we are very excited about the potential it brings.”

The medical records staff at Tameside Hospital work seven days a week to prepare and provide case notes for clinical staff on wards and outpatient departments. They turn round many thousands of patient case notes each week. The hospital stores around 260,000 notes within its two large libraries.

Edna added: “We handle more than 1,000 patient notes each day, some of which consist of numerous volumes. The aim is for us to eventually have more electronic patient records, reducing the need for paper creation and movement. This is something we are working toward as part of the Trust’s overall information strategy – ‘Digital by Design’.”

The medical records project is one of many initiatives theTamesideHospitalis embarking upon. The hospital is on course to implement a new, high-tech Electronic Patient Records system, allowing a variety of critical components of patient data to be presented at a clinician’s fingertips, further reducing reliance on paper records so staff will be better informed and can respond to patients’ needs more efficiently..

Tony Mellor,TamesideHospital’s Chief Information Officer said: “TamesideHospitalhas placed itself at the very forefront of the technological changes sweeping the NHS – with all the benefits those changes are set to bring.”

The hospital will be looking to share its experience widely with the rest of the National Health Service.