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Business information system helps prioritise emergency services

Documation : 12 September, 2007  (Application Story)
South Wales police employ ZyLAB technology to target problem areas and increase productivity in Cardiff
Each year, the University Hospital of Wales accident and emergency unit, one of the busiest trauma units in the UK, treat 120,000 people.

The unit, managed by the Cardiff and Vale NHS Trust, is one of the most technologically advanced health care units in Europe and is using ZyLAB technology as an innovative way of making better use of its resources.

The trauma unit is the first in the UK to pilot a scheme working with a UK police force and public sector agencies to use hospital statistics as a way of targeting and making better use of their combined resources. Trust staff and South Wales Police are able to jointly target areas of concern in Cardiff, allowing both public sector agencies to increase productivity and saving vital resources.

Assistant Directorate Manager in Emergency Medicine, Roy Simmons said: 'With careful use of hospital statistics, we are able to better prepare ourselves for any potential situation. By informing the police on the number and types of injuries our staff treat on a weekly basis, officers can target potential problem areas. By working with pubs, clubs and independent security companies, the result is that officers are able to reduce crime in the town and the number of people we may also have to treat.'

Statistics can include the number of people the unit treats with alcohol related injuries and where they were first assisted by the Welsh Ambulance Service NHS Trust, to trauma cases from road traffic accidents.

Information collated by trauma unit staff using ZyIMAGE can also be used to help the emergency services in Cardiff plan strategies for major public events such as the Five Nations rugby match at the Millennium Stadium.

For every patient who visits the unit in Cardiff, health care professionals create four or five paper forms to record patient information. In total, the unit may be called to retrieve information from a data bank of 750,000 patients records or X-Rays.

The unit's team of receptionists record details such as name, address and time of arrival in the accident and emergency department. A doctor or medical registrar will then use a record card and a series of notes to

chronicle a patient's injury, diagnosis and the treatment or medical procedure required.

Every kind of injury and medical procedure has a unique UK National Health Service code used by health care professionals to treat patients at the unit. This code is electronically recorded by the hospital for any future out patient visits.

These records are then kept for three months as paper documents and are then scanned and recorded electronically for future reference and use by the hospital and other public sector agencies. Traditionally, the trust stored thousands of patient records, X-Rays and doctor's notes in several secure areas in the hospital, or outsourced the function to a storage company.

When the trust moved to the new trauma unit, staff turned to ZyLAB to help them store records and reduce storage costs. By using a barcode system generated from the main computer, the software automatically fills in details that would otherwise require manual data entry. This means the operator only has to press a scan button to successfully process all the forms.

By using ZyIMAGE, hospital staff can access records and X-Rays in seconds, wherever they are in the hospital and within minutes, records are fully searchable by doctors and staff.

Assistant Directorate Manager in Emergency Medicine, Roy Simmons adds: 'ZyLAB technology allows us to retrieve all cases and patient information in seconds, has utilised a smaller storage area in the new hospital and is able to display records to a large number of people at any one time. The system works spectacularly and is yet to fail or be unable to find a record.'
Records and information that had taken some time to retrieve, are now found in seconds, while allowing managers to also allocate and carefully use scarce trust resources accordingly.

'The Freedom of Information Act is probably one of the most important pieces of legislation ever to impact on the public sector. The new law means that anyone we treat in the unit can apply under the act to look at every piece of information we hold on them.

We have something like 600,000 accident and emergency patient records on file and the beauty of the ZyLAB system is that it has the ability to search all of the records in around 30 seconds.'
Other benefits of ZyIMAGE:
* ZyLAB has enabled healthcare professionals at the University Hospital of Wales to manage and move electronic and paper patient information efficiently throughout the Cardiff and Vale NHS Trust
* Patient records can never be lost or erased
* The trust record system can source patient information from the hospital's long term archive should the patient attend the hospital for any reason
* Massive savings on storage space which can be otherwise utilised on patient care
* Soft copy reporting is a less time-consuming process than pulling records out of patient archive room, offering greater productivity
* Information can be shared by staff between departments, wherever they are in the hospital.

ZyLAB is exhibiting at Documation UK, in partnership with AIIM, it is the UK's only dedicated end-to-end content, business process & information management event. Olympia, London from 17-18 October 2007 .
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