Pearl Scan examines what’s standing in the way of a paperless NHS

Pearl Scan, the document scanning and digitisation services solutions provider, is examining the challenges and obstacles facing the NHS, as it attempts to become paperless by 2018.

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt has stated that all patients should have compatible digital records by 2018, and all GP records should be digital by the end of this year. Many practices are now commencing initiatives to create electronic health records, but some NHS organisations are facing trouble digitising huge archives of data, especially in the face of tight budgets and cutbacks.

Naveed Ashraf, Managing Director of Pearl Scan, a service which already offers medical record scanning for the NHS and for private healthcare providers, says, "The scale of digitisation needed by the NHS is quite incredible, and we don't believe this is something that can be accomplished over the course of a few months. Many NHS trusts and hospitals are currently struggling with budget cutbacks, and to ask them to digitise decades of documents to meet an arbitrary deadline could be a risky move by the Health secretary."

Naveed adds, "Here at Pearl Scan, we are ready to help in any way we can. We have already helped hundreds of NHS hospitals, doctor's surgeries, private medical trusts and dental clinics to improve their record-keeping by switching to a digital archive. In the long run, it helps save time and money, as well as offering a more secure and efficient way to access files – all things which can only improve patient care."

Despite all the positives that digitising medical records can bring about, there are still areas of concern that need to be addressed. A study by Accenture found that 47% of doctors struggle to use the new electronic systems, and over half said the introduction of electronic records meant they spent less time face-to-face with patients. Furthermore, just 0.4% of patients have accessed their own healthcare records, demonstrating the need for more effective promotion of the benefits of digitisation.

Pearl Scan has worked within the medical sector for over a decade, and the team are fully qualified to work with confidential and sensitive data, with accreditations to prove it. A fast and secure collection service is available to ensure minimal disruption, and thousands of documents can be scanned over a matter of days. As the NHS looks ahead to a paperless existence, Pearl Scan can be an invaluable asset for trusts, hospitals and surgeries across the country.

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