Secure and accessible storage of patient records is vital to running a successful NHS Trust. In the NHS England Document and Records Policy, medical records are identified as “a valuable resource because of the information they contain.” Furthermore, the policy goes on to say that “high-quality information underpins the delivery of high-quality, evidence-based healthcare. Information has most value when it is accurate, up to date and accessible when it is needed.”
So, how do you make sure that your medical records storage is in the best possible shape to help deliver excellent patient care? With medical records having such a long lifespan, finding enough space and making sure records are stored safely and securely while remaining easy to access, can be a challenge. Outsourcing your medical records storage so that it is in the hands of professionals in document management with industry leading accreditation could be the perfect solution.
In September 2015, CAS was approached by Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust to undertake a project to relocate and digitise over 20,000 confidential client health care files. The Trust took the decision to improve their systems dramatically by moving to a new storage facility and at the same, time took the opportunity to digitise the files.
Working closely with senior stakeholders within the Trust, CAS proposed to enable increased effectiveness of record keeping and retrieval through secure storage, creating digital versions of documents and providing online access to live files through CAS-Cloud.
Secure Medical Records Storage
The first task was to transfer the files to the CAS storage facility at Sudbury. The files were boxed in date-order for efficient on-demand retrieval later. Each file and the box in which it is stored has an individual barcode. The code identifies the specific records contained in that box making retrieval easy and accurate. Each box is scanned when being deposited or removed from storage, and the information is catalogued providing an accurate audit which can itself be accessed 24/7.
CAS continually strive for the highest levels of security. As well as document-handling staff, all team members at the storage facility have been through the DBS checking process. The storage facility in Sudbury, Suffolk has a gated perimeter fence, 24/7 security patrol and advanced CCTV. Gate staff require identification for anyone entering the facility and only authorised personnel are admitted. CAS has a dedicated fleet of GPS-tracked vehicles to control all document transport to and from storage. Physical records can also be requested on a scheduled basis.
Creating Digital Versions of ‘Live’ Medical Records
CAS offers an on-demand scanning service. Once requested each file is prepared for scanning by an experienced document management professional. They remove extraneous items such as paper clips and staples, and individually scan each page including any additional items such as added notes and post-its. The files are then scanned, coded and the digital record added to the virtual record library. The original records are then returned to their storage box.
CAS are fully compliant with the Data Protection Act 1998. All CAS document-handling staff have been checked by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). DBS is the new name for the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB), and DBS checks have now replaced the old CRB checks. This process enables CAS to comply with the 2014 NHS England Confidentiality Policy which states: “All employees working in the NHS are bound by a legal duty of confidence to protect the personal information they may come into contact with during their work. This is not just a requirement of their contractual responsibilities but also a requirement within the common law duty of confidence and the Data Protection Act. It is also a requirement within the NHS Care Record Guarantee, produced to assure patients regarding the use of their information.”
24/7 Access to Digital Medical Records
The most important aspect of this project was the need for an efficient ‘live-file’ storage system. Many of the records are for clients who are currently being supported by CSS. This means the records are in constant use and may need to be retrieved, updated and returned to storage 24/7.
At CAS we offer a fully hosted, online system with customised search criteria that enables authorised CCS personnel to access records remotely from anywhere in the UK.
The relocation to a secure storage facility and digitisation of active files has enabled primary care staff to deliver increased support to children and young people across Cambridgeshire, Norfolk, Suffolk and Bedfordshire. Administration time and costs have been reduced significantly, particularly the time care professionals have to spend travelling to the old facility to review and manage records. This has resulted in increased productivity, essential at a time when all NHS teams are under budget pressure. The secure storage facility also delivers an enhanced level of security for the confidential records offering peace-of-mind for patients, carers and families.
At CAS our state-of-the-art storage and cataloguing facilities make it easy for our clients to find the vital information they need without compromising security. Our commitment to secure storage is demonstrated by our ISO 27001 accreditation – CAS Clarks are compliant with every international regulation on surveillance, security and staff confidentiality.
Save on the in-house handling cost of your medical records storage, and let us take the strain of looking after your medical records safely and securely, leaving you to focus resources on providing high-quality healthcare for your patients.
About Danny Clark
Danny has been working with clients for more than 20 years to securely store and manage their business critical documents, achieving an impressive array of International certifications. Danny continues to innovate to ensure Clarks CAS provides its clients with a reliable bespoke service that meets their document digitisation, information storage and facilities management needs.
About Clarks CAS
CAS provides comprehensive and secure document digitisation, information storage and facilities management services. For more than 20 years CAS have worked with NHS Trusts, Financial Services providers, and corporate and private clients. Our head office is just four miles from the City of London, supported by our advanced storage centres across the UK. CAS has an impressive array of International certifications (ISOs), which prove our compliance with the strictest national, European and international laws. They also demonstrate our commitment to provide innovative systems on security, confidentiality and quality control in keeping your files safe and well managed.
For a free, no-obligation quote, please contact our specialist team