NHS trusts still reliant on pen and paper

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Many NHS Trusts are still dependent on using pen and paper to document clinical patient records, new research has found.

A new report from Nuance Communications based on a Freedom of Information (FOI) request found that out of 26 of 73 NHS Trusts surveyed still use pen and paper for vitial records..

Pen and paper aside, the Trusts are doing a fairly good job at transforming into a modern, fully-digitised facility. One in five have deployed AI to improve patient services, and four in ten are considering it. Eight per cent will deploy AI within a year from now.

More than a quarter are implementing speech recognition software to help develop clinical documentation. That will, according to the report, give healthcare workers more time to devote to patients, because with digital dictation and typing automation, paperwork will run faster.

Overall, the pen and paper proportion is down from 93 per cent two years ago, meaning there has been some progress, but Nuance says that there is also a ‘clear journey ahead’.

“The current reliance on handwriting to complete patient records suggests we are still a way from the NHS’ 2020 paperless pledge,” Dr Simon Wallace, Chief Clinical Officer at Nuance Communications, said. 

“A lack of electronic patient record deployments and inefficient documentation processes are currently putting even more pressure on an already stretched organisation, with many clinicians forced to spend around half their time creating and updating patient records – rather than treating patients,” he added.

Image Credit: Lightpoet / Shutterstock