Space for as many as 10,000 beds could be made in NHS Trusts by moving more patient records offsite.
With new Covid cases rising, flu, and a post-pandemic backlog to deal with, the NHS is facing huge pressure from all angles. The need for beds is high on the agenda, with the Government stating it is doing “everything possible” to increase the number of beds available to patients.
The NHSX unit has seen a lot of Trusts making space and moving records offsite, but many still have large medical libraries containing stored patient records.
Per Trust, the average space taken up by physical records is said to be 1,667m2, with the figure rising up to 6,500m2 for the largest hospitals.
With continual challenges being faced by many Trusts, finding time to take on additional burdens is not an option.
With no simple all-in-one solution available, part of the answer begins with addressing the physical patient records taking up valuable clinical space. By storing these records offsite, space for around 100 beds could be created per site, and far more in larger Trusts.
While some sites may not have the resource to support additional beds, moving physical patient records offsite can provide longevity for the future and be the first step in digitisation.
Access to records onsite is often seen by hospitals as a benefit, however, it can be the opposite as departments managing requests for documents are often the most understaffed, causing further strains. Tracking patient records becomes a challenge if not managed carefully, with undocumented audit trails, unmanaged version control and duplication causing large risks.
Instead, it is proving better to store physical patient records offsite, with the ability to retrieve and deliver individual files quickly or accessible via scan-on-demand.
By offloading records management to a specialist provider such as Key Digital, Trusts can focus on delivering patient care, increasing bed count, or using space more effectively.