Paperless vs Paper Light


The move to become a paperless NHS Trust is pushing forward for many health organisations across the UK which is very encouraging seeing that there are issues with being a paper heavy organisation bringing its own risks and issues to any department within the healthcare sector.

Whenever an incident occurs within a Trust it seems that decisions are made to introduce yet another checklist which is onerous on a senior sister/charge nurse to complete on a regular basis during a shift. This just adds to the frustrations already shared by those people trying to implement and deliver care pathways that have the patient at the centre.

To deliver a paper light system into a health organisation is no mean feat and needs support from the top down to encourage those on the shop floor and give them the confidence to be able to use whatever solution is at their fingertips to do an effective job. The solution needs to be easy to use, read, operate and manage the information that is being input and output.

I am not trying to teach people to suck eggs by saying this, but from my experience it seems to be something that healthcare IT suppliers get wrong time and time again!

This is a combination of both internal and external influences on IT projects which makes it paramount that the right people are used to make the right decisions that ultimately effect a major workforce of clinicians, AHPs, Administrators amongst others.

Paper is not going to leave us any time soon and we need to ask the question what do we want to achieve, how do we want to achieve it and what are the benefits of achieving it.

Let’s not look at trying to introduce functionally rich applications that have minimal impact on patient care and its delivery, let’s try to create a platform that drives patient care and patient safety assisting the clinician in their daily routine. If this is not achieved then somebody somewhere will introduce more paper.

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