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Welsh Ambulance Service's patient records go digital

October 14th 2022, 7:08 pm by Arran Hodges

The Welsh Ambulance Service has introduced new technology which has enabled all of its patient records to go digital.

The Trust generates an average 400,000 patient records a year, which traditionally have been captured as handwritten notes.

Electronic Patient Clinical Record (ePCR) technology enables crews to capture information on an iPad, reducing paper, improving the accuracy of notes and enabling real-time information to be shared quickly and easily with healthcare partners.

Rather than wait to be handed a paper-based record, doctors can now determine the best course of treatment prior to a patient's arrival at hospital, speeding up handovers.

Senior clinicians providing remote advice to paramedics face-to-face with a patient can also access the ePCR in real-time and record their advice as part of the record.

Dr Brendan Lloyd, Executive Medical Director at the Welsh Ambulance Service, said:

"The move from paper-based patient data collection to ePCR is transformational for the Trust and patient care.
"Not only does it streamline the way information is captured, but the live data we're entering into the Welsh Clinical Portal means other clinicians can access it, which strengthens collaboration and ultimately, means a better service for the patient.
"The move to digital has also eliminated the use of paper, which takes us closer to our decarbonisation goals.
"We believe passionately about harnessing technology to equip our clinicians with information to provide individual care to improve patient outcomes and the experiences of patients, carers and their families when they need us the most."

The new ePCR solution was funded via Welsh Government's Digital Priorities Investment Fund, and rollout at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic took around 12 months.

Welsh Government Minister for Health and Social Services Eluned Morgan said:

"I congratulate the team on the successful and timely rollout of its new electronic records system.
"The digitisation of patient care records means that information can be shared in a more efficient manner to improve patient care and save vital minutes upon arrival in the hospital.
"I will continue to support additional development of the ePCR system to further improve patient care in Wales."

The Trust's ePCR Programme is now exploring further developments to interface with other NHS Wales systems and provide additional information to ambulance crews, like a patient's allergies and regular medications.

Work to enable the Trust's Community First Responders to use the system is also underway with a view to capturing information across the service – be it by staff or volunteers – as a single digital Patient Clinical Record.