EPR systems for managing patient data

data centre
Written by Nigel Simpkins

In 2018 it would seem that whole world is now technologically savvy. After all, most people have a smartphone, and the majority have access to the internet – whereas many companies now primarily deal online. But could technology be the answer to other key institutions here in the UK?

In its 70th year, the NHS is a much-celebrated institution that we’ve all used at some point in our lives, but aside from its benefits, it has also faced scrutiny over the years. A big one is its inability to move with the times when it comes to technology – especially when it comes to using technology to manage patient data. It was actually found recently that the NHS is the biggest buyer of fax machines in the world – a rather outdated piece of technology.

But what ways could the NHS use tech to improve its management of patient data? One way would be to adopt an EPR system.

What is an EPR System?

Also known as an Electronic Patient Records system, these form the basis for migrating from paper records to electronic ones. This obviously means that data can be accessed much quicker from anywhere with access to the system, and also mostly removes the risk of losing the data. Data would be securely stored at a national data centre such as:

Adopting an EPR system would create one of the biggest changes to the NHS in quite some time. Allowing health care professionals to capture both clinical and administrative data via a PC, laptop or palm pilot, it would allow doctors to make this second nature rather than reaching for a variety of pens and paper.

But what exactly would the benefits be?

Benefits of an EPR System

Ultimately, these systems could bring benefits for everyone such as the health organisations, its staff and of course the patients. These would include:

  • The introduction of standard approaches to health care delivery
  • Reduce clinical risks
  • Provide greater convenience for patients
  • Bring an improvement to the patients’ experience
  • Data collected becomes available to those that need it easier
  • Help to streamline care
  • Help to improve communications

The systems would also give great support to the members of staff using them by providing guidance and support throughout the process of use. It would do this by:

  • Provide decision-support systems that’ll be built into the overall system
  • Provide multidisciplinary electronic integrated care pathways
  • Provide various protocols that will be embedded into the EPR System

With so many benefits, a system such as this could see treatment and care drastically improve due to more access for staff members. Meanwhile, patients become much more confident in the care that they’re receiving, which helps to increase overall satisfaction of the NHS.

The Future?

Although it’ll take a lot more than a few technological advances to improve the perceived issues with the NHS, adopting systems like this is a great start. As mentioned, by allowing more people to gain access to data, while keeping it safely stored digitally, could see care improve, allowing attention for improvement to then be diverted elsewhere. 

With so much changing over the last 70 years, it seems technology is ready to take centre stage over the next 70.