Trusts join forces to improve clinical correspondence


Heatherwood & Wexham Park Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust implements Docman Hub

Heatherwood & Wexham Park Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is sending more than 250,000 documents a year electronically using Docman Hub.

The trust sends outpatient letters and discharge documents for A&E, inpatients, day surgery and maternity electronically using Docman’s electronic document transfer solution to 105 GP practices.

Heatherwood & Wexham Park Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Royal Berkshire Hospital NHS Foundation Trust are working to connect their hubs to reach more than 200 GP practices with electronic clinical correspondence. Currently 105 practices connect to Heatherwood and Wexham’s hub to receive clinical correspondence electronically and 115 practices connect to the hub at Royal Berkshire Hospital. Through sharing agreements, the trusts will deliver documents electronically to the practices connected to each other’s hubs. A practice connected to the Hub at Royal Berkshire Hospital will be able to receive clinical correspondence from Heatherwood and Wexham.

Brian Dayson, head of IT strategy and architecture at Heatherwood & Wexham Park Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “For A&E especially we had problems with the paper process. Discharge notes were handwritten and then photocopied and sent through the post to practices. This process was very labour intensive for us and for the practices and there were sometimes difficulties with legibility.

“By going electronic we could immediately see the benefits of sending a document in a standardised format through Docman.

“We initially started the project with low volume documents using Document Capture as part of the Docman Hub solution. This meant we could quickly go live with day surgery and maternity letters. Following this we started to connect interfaces to frontline clinical systems that generate greater volumes of documents, such as A&E and outpatient letters. We aim now to transmit every document through the hub.

“Previously A&E documents could take more than a week to arrive at practices because of the manual process. Now by sending documents through Docman the letter can be with the GP before the patient reaches the hospital car park. We know that as soon as a letter is sent to the hub it is delivered to the practices.

“The project has achieved our aim of providing an improved quality of service and an effective clinical handover to GPs.”

Ric Thompson, managing director of Docman, added: "While there are significant benefits from individual trusts sending their clinical correspondence electronically, these benefits increase exponentially when you join hubs together. Linking hubs together enables trusts to send their correspondence seamlessly to any connected practice.”

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