NHS leads the way for paperless policing

by Steve Norris: Managing Partner, Criminal Justice and Emergency Services Practice

Even though there’s a lot of debate around whether the NHS goal of becoming paperless by 2018 is achievable, the benefits are not in question. Using digital technologies increases efficiencies and reduces cost. You’ll know that the upcoming spending review due on 25 November will see the police and the whole criminal justice sector be asked to deliver better services on smaller budgets. And I think paperless initiatives, currently under way in the health sector, provide a valuable guide on how that can be achieved.

Security at source

Security is of course an issue with any digital project. Just as data on convictions and ongoing operations has to remain secure, so does patient confidentiality and clinical records. Technologies like Mobile Device Management and Capsule give organisations the control to set and govern access and usage rights to individual devices and people – right down to sim level. They’ll work regardless of the location, whether on patrol or at the station, in court or working remotely. All documents stored in the cloud can also be encrypted, just in case a device falls into the wrong hands or is lost.

And this level of security can also be integrated with other technologies, such as body-worn cameras. Our Bluelight Managed Video solution provides instant and encrypted video recordings of any incident, helping increase conviction rates and providing an audit trail if required. Footage can be assigned to specific case records and easily accessed by court officials and lawyers if needed as evidence at a later date.

More efficiency at less cost

Because they’re cloud-based, these security technologies can protect devices wherever they’re being used. And it can help your people collaborate better and increase their productivity so they can spend more time out in the community. Records Management Systems, such as Niche, can be checked and updated via mobile devices, and full PNC checks can be undertaken without the need to return to a station or a vehicle.

I think a great example of the NHS reducing its reliance on paper can be found at the Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust. It’s digitising up to 450 million records to remove paper case notes entirety. Clinicians will then be able to access records via an app from a patient’s bedside, allowing them to make quicker and more informed decisions.

Reduce your costs further

We’re seeing that replacing paper with digital technology isn’t just cost-effective in terms of increasing productivity, it also saves cash by allowing you to reconsider your overheads. We saw this in our work with the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, which reduced its estate by 30%. It was able to move its staff out of the office and into the community by rolling out secure mobile devices with access to digital records. Its carers and clinicians can now make decisions in patients’ homes which has not only boosted its service levels, but means the Trust has also slashed its number of sites from 100 to fewer than 77.

So these are just some of the ways the NHS is providing digital lessons to the wider public sector. You can find more information in our whitepaper about paperless and how digital technology can help criminal justice organisations. Or, why not visit our website?