Hospital patients in Hartlepool have been asked to be patient as a new electronic record system is introduced.
North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust was successful in bidding for £7million of funding to replace its existing patient record system, and two years of planning and designing will be completed when it is introduced on October 19.
Staff have been trained for the change, which will make information previously held in paper form available on screen.
It will allow easy access for clinical staff who look after patients, with patient letters and test results available electronically in one place.
Lynne Hodgson, the trust’s lead director for the project and director of finance ICT and support services, said: “This is a major change for staff, but it was absolutely essential.
“Our old patient administration system is near the end of its useful life and desperately needed to be replaced.
“We still have thousands of paper records and getting these quickly when a patient comes in either for an outpatient appointment or as an emergency is very labour intensive.
“It sometimes means our health professionals don’t have the patient’s history in front of them when they need it.”
‘Teething problems’ are anticipated as staff come to terms with the electronic system.
She added: “As with any major change, a massive amount of training has taken place, but we’re still expecting there to be some teething problems as staff get used to working with the new system.
“It’s a bit like when people get a new computer, tablet or mobile phone at home, but just on a very large scale; it takes time to get used to it.
“We’re just asking at this time that patients and relatives bear with us while the new system is bedding in.
“We are ensuring there are additional staff available to do any trouble shooting and make sure patients get the care and treatment they need as soon as possible, but if people could be aware that we’re all getting used to a new way of working that would be very much appreciated.”