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Implementing GS1 standards through a health records tracking solution at Barking, Havering & Redbridge University NHS Trust

Implementing GS1 standards through a health records tracking solution at Barking, Havering & Redbridge University NHS Trust

Background

Barking, Havering & Redbridge University NHS Trust (BHRUT) needed to make quick but efficient improvements after a Care Quality Commission (CQC) report had challenged their health records management. They implemented FIND-IT – a project that allowed them to use GS1 standards, barcodes and RFID tags to track health records.

What was the problem?

It was in 2013 when BHRUT was put into special measures by the CQC and one area questioned was their labour-intensive traditional health records library model. With another CQC inspection looming, BHRUT knew they needed to make some real, tangible changes – and quickly.

How was the problem solved?

BHRUT implemented project FIND-IT – a complete process change that replaced the management of records by terminal digit filing with a location based system. The project also had the added benefit of introducing GS1 standards, in line with the eProcurement Strategy mandate issued by the Department of Health.

How were GS1 standards used to help deliver the solution?

All records and locations were identified and barcoded using GS1 standards. Using 6PM iFit software and RFID technology, the tagging of case notes meant mounted readers and handheld scanners could track and locate health records at key locations around the building.

What are the benefits?

The main benefit has been that records are now available when and where they’re needed, having a positive impact on both staff and patients. The new system has reduced the amount of time records spent out of the main file and increased record filing speed – it’s now 85 per hour, compared to 35 per hour before the system was implemented. 

A feasibility report and subsequent business case predicted a net saving of £1.4m across three years but they’re now predicting an even bigger return of £2.4m, with 84% of this realised in the first year.

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