Learn from the NHS: Going Digital to Improve Service
Britain’s National Health Service is one of the world’s best, and while it may not always function perfectly, there are many of its practices that can be replicated by up-and-coming start-ups and established businesses alike. One such initiative was started in 2013 and is still ongoing. It’s a major task for one of the world’s largest organisations, but it’s very important indeed. Cutting down on paperwork and going digital where possible is not only helping save the environment, it’s going to improve service too.
The key to all of this is that digital records make information retrieval so much quicker and more accurate. Being able to instantly retrieve patient records, policy documents and standards of procedure means that better care can be given. This is even being combined with the use of smartphones and tablets so that the data is available on-demand – there’s no having to sit at a computer to find out what a nurse or doctor needs.
Patients are not static, which is one of the major issues of using physical documentation. All of it has to be moved around from local surgery, to hospital and from ward to ward. When things are digital however, the whole system is connected. This, in theory, will cut down waiting times and get people better, quicker, which is a primary concern to an often stretched organisation.
Making the Change
2018 is the deadline for the transition, which illustrates just what a big job it is. Progress is slow, mainly because adapting to new systems takes a lot of time, but it is certainly happening. It’s not just a case of starting a new process either – all of the old data must be converted to digital using scanning and data capture technology. Things are changing however.
If your business is still reliant on paper documents, even if only in a small capacity, then you should seriously consider how you can make the switch to digital. You might not have patients to care for, but can you honestly say that you wouldn’t be able to provide a better service if you could access any of your data or documents from anywhere? Most companies do conduct almost everything through digital these days, but there are always pockets of analogue for no good reason. Filing cabinets should soon be a thing of the past.