Tracking patient records

by Robertus Oosterwijk, Marketing Executive

6PM’s Intelligent File and Inventory Tracking (iFIT) solution has now been installed and in use at the Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust for over a year. Thanks to passive RFID tags that are attached to patient paper records and handheld readers iFIT helps to track down patient records anywhere at the hospital.

The Chief Executive Officer of the Trust Michael Wilson says: “iFIT offers a whole range of things that effectively NHS does not think about in terms of productivity, safety and efficiency. “At the end of all this, patients get better quality experience.”

Ian McKenzie, Director of Information and Facilities, says Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, decided to implement iFIT when it was talking to 6PM about another project related to data warehousing.

“While we were working on that, 6PM told us about the new product that was coming on the market and we thought this would help us with some of the problems we had. Having done it has made a phenomenal difference,” he said.

In an article published by the RFID Journal Clair Swedberg wrote that after adopting 6PM’s iFIT solution, Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust reduced the hours needed to retrieve and put away patient files by 80 percent.

In a testimonial video about iFIT, the Chief Executive of Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust Michael Wilson says: “The wider impact has been the reduction of clinical risk and that is really important. The response we had from staff has been great.”

One of the ward staff says iFIT has made a big difference to her job because finding notes is now much easier than it was before. Through iFIT patient case notes are tagged with a passive RFID tags. As they move around hospital they are traced through sensors located in various parts of the building. Health record staff can go around the hospital and locate patient case notes with RFID scanner guns. The system also allows the following of the progress of a set of case notes through the Trust.

Janet Robinson, Trust Deputy Health Records Manager, says that before the Trust had the iFIT solution installed any case notes for filing had to be pre-sorted. “With the iFIT system we can file them directly from boxes or trays straight into the racks in designated barcoded slots…the system is very friendly. It is like supermarket shopping. When you are ready with your case notes you put them into a cart and then you check the cart of case notes out.”

Mary Pulham, who works as Health Records Supervisor, as Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, says iFIT has given her and her colleagues more control. “Previously if a file was taken out of the library we could not prove it. Now we can because we have the sensors in place,” she says.

She adds that before iFIT was installed a trolley of files used to take between half and one hour to file numerically. Now it takes up to 15 minutes.

Michael Wilson says that the wider impact of using iFIT has been the reduction of clinical risk. “It makes us use our resources better. Staff can use time differently for the benefit of the patients. We are more confident that we know where all our notes are and eventually it will reduce our overall storage costs.”