COMMERCIAL: Liverpool Community Health Trust is piloting a new electronic “secure mailbox” that it believes will speed up the process for screening babies under the Healthy Child Programme by two to five days.

Every child in Merseyside is routinely screened after birth by a midwife as part of the programme. The trust said in a statement that, “until now, the process of delivering these test results back to parents has always involved a lot of duplication”.

However, it continued, “working in partnership with EMIS and the Royal Liverpool University Hospital Trust, Liverpool Community Health have now developed a secure mailbox that receives the result electronically directly into the child’s record, without the need for repeated manual input by different departments or services”.

Peter Woods, Information Management and Technology Senior Project Manager for Informatics Merseyside, said: “Previously our local laboratories had to post all baby screening results to the trust for reporting purposes. These results were then manually inputted into an electronic system and provided to Health Visitors as a paper record, so it was a fairly inefficient process. 

“But introducing this solution means that now we only need to enter data once for each child, where previously it had to be entered multiple times by different departments and teams.

He added: “As far as we know, no other trust in the UK is doing this yet, and it’s an innovation which has some massive implications for us.

“Not only is it enabling us to speed up our baby screening process by between 2-5 days on average and enabling us to get results back to families much quicker, it’s also helping to significantly reduce paperwork for key staff such as our health visitors.”

“The system also removes the risk of human error in data inputting and will allow our records to be more easily audited which will help us to manage our performance better in the future too.”

If all goes to plan, the trust will make the switch to the electronic only version from January 2013.