NHS must put staff at centre of 2018 paperless ambitions, warns Annodata

December 4, 2014

Earlier this week, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt indicated that £1.5bn of additional funding to be allocated to the NHS in 2015/16 will be contingent on hospitals providing plans to become more “efficient and sustainable” and to deliver “a commitment to a paperless NHS by 2018”.

Backing the proposal, Annodata, a leading provider of communications, managed print and IT services, says that a paperless NHS is a noble ambition from an environmental and financial point of view, but warns that hospitals will need to win the hearts and minds of staff to achieve it.

Andrew Smith, Head of Professional Services at Annodata, said: “Having worked extensively with Health Trusts in the past, and seen first-hand the efficiencies that can be achieved through centralised print and document management, we know that there are vast swathes of the NHS that are ripe for modernisation. This initiative therefore has our full support and with the correct partners and advisors, we believe it’s achievable – but there’s no denying that the challenge ahead is a formidable one.

“Going paperless would challenge even the leanest of SMEs, let alone a hospital employing hundreds of staff. The shift in working practices required is as much organisational as cultural, so winning over the hearts and minds of staff and getting them on board will need to be a priority. Without these, any drive to go paperless wouldn’t even get off the ground. With any change to process, adaptions to existing cultures and work practices are required, but when implemented in the correct way we believe cultures can be developed and enhanced rather than changing and disrupting the overall ethos. There may be reservations surrounding a paperless environment so it’s important to clearly set out the environmental imperatives and the efficiency benefits it will bring to staff. You need to understand why and how staff use paper and bring in viable alternatives that won’t negatively impact daily operations.”

Smith went on to say that hospitals would need to start planning now and set their plans in motion as a priority, but advised against making too many changes too fast.

“With any change in large organisations timing and strategy is key and ‘big bang’ approaches here are doomed to failure. With three years to go until the set deadline, now is the time to start the modernisation process and rolling out small changes to print and document management practices can make significant differences. The use of print management software, for example, can drastically cut down on the number of pages printed and get staff thinking critically about the paper they use. Once these new working practices have had enough time to bed in, the rest will follow,” he concluded.

-ENDS-

NOTES TO EDITORS

About Annodata

Founded in 1988, Annodata is a managed services provider specialising in the efficient flow of information using the most effective types of communication. With annual revenues in excess of £78 million, the company brings together a range of specialist services including managed print services, unified communications, document management and software, mobile telephony, communication services and cloud hosting services.

With clients in the private and public sector, its team of specialists understand the needs of small and large organisations in all sectors and can help re-design business processes in-house or through a fully managed service.

The company has long-standing relationships with leading global enterprises including 02, Avaya, Kyocera, HP, Mitel and Ricoh giving businesses access to the latest technologies, future-proofing the enterprise.

Press contacts:

Edward Dodge or Lily Ingrey | Spreckley Partners | Tel: +44 (0)20 7388 9988 | Email: annodata@spreckley.co.uk