Mid Yorkshire Hospital NHS Trust Increase Productivity & Reduce Cost of their Document Management

Phase one

Mid Yorkshire Hospital NHS Trust had a costly printing infrastructure. The Patient Administration System (PAS) for Mid Yorkshire runs on an IBM i outputting to 1800 printers the majority of which were deskjets, they also have some twinax and barcode printers. The quality of print was low and formatting was impossible. The incumbent print solution was server based, complex to set up and required additional licenses to be purchased for all laser printers. When SpaceTec were brought in to provide InterForm400 it allowed the NHS trust to use any PCL printer, eliminating the necessity for high cost dedicated printers. Mid Yorkshire used the Dell Printer division to analyse all sites and come up with a design that would allow them to significantly reduce their current costs associated to printing, the design allowed Mid Yorkshire to replace their 1,800 printers with 700 Dell Workgroup laser printers which are more flexible (they could now print any document to any printer) and less costly to maintain. These changes alone lead to Mid Yorkshire achieving ROI.

Mid Yorkshire have two IBM i the second one is a backup system for disaster recovery and business continuity. This machine runs in parallel at a separate location, and mirrors the first in terms of operation and applications. The old PAS solution didn’t have a backup system in place, if Mid Yorkshire had needed to rely on the backup machine they would not have been able to use the print feature.

Document templates for forms, letters and labels were run under an old application on the IBM i. Making changes to the templates requires re-coding of the application. This re-coding can only be done by the original supplier of the application making changes expensive and time consuming.

InterForm400 is an IBM i application that utilises the IBM i as a printer server, allowing you to print to any printer in any location, eliminating the need for additional print servers which saves costs and increase the reliability of the solution. Because InterForm400 sits on the IBM i Mid Yorkshire were able to mirror this easily to their backup system. From a user level if a printer becomes un operational there is no lengthy wait for it to be fixed or replaced the print jobs can be re-queued and sent to another printer.

Hans Solgaard Head of IT for Mid Yorkshire Hospital NHS trust said:

“When InterForm400 was introduced to me I could see immediately that the product could solve a lot of the problems I had been experiencing and the additional modules would allow me to achieve much more than I originally hoped we could. InterForm400 does exactly what it says it does with no complex coding or hidden costs.”


Phase two

One of Mid Yorkshires main requirements was to have a scaleable solution. The budgets of an NHS hospital do not allow for large initial investments so it was important that the solution could be deployed in stages. Phase two will consist of extending the InterForm400 solution to reduce administration, stationary and postal costs. InterForm400 allows you to print any type of document from any printer and merge these with data held on the IBM i which leads to any number of cost saving solutions.

Mid Yorkshire is spending a large amount of money on pre-printed stationary. Different departments and different consultants all required personalised stationary. Any changes to these departments or change of consultant requires a re-print. A costly example of this is when the hospital changed name from Dewsbury and District Hospital to Mid Yorkshire Hospital NHS Trust and joined up with other hospitals in the district.

Mid Yorkshire hospital sends out on average 100,000 letters a month leading to high postal and administration costs. Where a patient falls under the cover of two or more departments it would be quite normal for them to receive separate letters from the hospital on the same day, as there was no way to consolidate these letters, each department handles its own administration. The administration of the 100,000 letters alone is a major task it involves a number of people sorting the letters into first and second class delivery dependant upon appointment dates, collecting and enclosing additional relevant literature (advice leaflets) and the folding of the letter and putting it into the envelope.

InterForm400 has a number of additional modules that extend its capabilities one of these is InterWord400 which is used by numerous clients as a replacement for IBM’s no longer supported Office Vision. InterWord400 offers the unique feature of merging data from the host with document templates, created in any PC word processor and creating output to the host spool system in PCL. This will allow Mid Yorkshire to automatically collate letters so individuals will receive one envelope from the hospital containing the letters from all the different departments. Advice leaflets can be printed out together with the letters removing the need for someone to collect and insert these. The letters can be automatically sorted into first and second class delivery so eliminating the need for sorting by hand. Mid Yorkshire will be able to save 3 pence per letter.

Because the print solution is flexible and the templates can easily be changed, (in house, no need to pay third party suppliers) Mid Yorkshire are hoping that they will be able to utilise other services within the Royal Mail that will allow then to save even more money on their postal costs as they will be able to fulfil the requirements of any specific layout formats or even to add barcoding to the letters.

Solgaard says:

“ We can now respond to request for changes to hospital documents immediately and ensure that all documents are standardised across the hospital. Some of the changes have been minor but have made a major impact on the way the hospital staff work. For example we are now able to add a persons religion to the documentation used by the staff. This ensures that we deal with the patient in the way that corresponds to their religion and we are always aware of any special requirements or needs.”

SpaceTec were given three days to get InterForm400 implemented and provide training to the IT team. Users do not need training as they don’t see any changes to the system they can however see the changes to the finished documents.

Pat Race from SpaceTec said:

“ We were confident that we could meet their deadline, however implementation also includes the conversation of their original forms and documents to the new templates to ensure we could do this we downloaded copies of the spool files and worked on the templates offsite. InterForm400 was installed on the Friday and by the Monday Mid Yorkshire were so confident they had removed their old servers and software.”

Solgaard says:

“In my position I deal with many different suppliers and have built some good relationships, however I was very impressed with SpaceTec and the way they dealt with a problem we had with a Dell printer. SpaceTec arranged to have a duplicate printer sent from Dell to the Developers of InterForm400 in Denmark for testing." Race of SpaceTec responds “We were 100% certain that the problem didn’t lie with the InterForm400 software, however there was a problem and with the help of Dell we were soon able to sort it out for Hans.”

Mid Yorkshire are looking at a number of other solutions provided by SpaceTec. One potential solution is to decrease the number of did not attend (DNA) appointments which in turn will increase throughput of the hospital and decrease re-bookings. SpaceTec provide an SMS tool which could be used in conjunction with the mobile phone details in a patient’s record to send out a text message reminding them of appointment times.

InterForm400 can also output to Zebra printers (ZPL). Zebra have a range of products specifically designed for hospital environments such as wrist band printers, barcoding systems for patient notes, laboratory specimens, blood transfusion bags and patient medicine labelling. All created to make hospital administration easier and more cost effective.