How Does the NHS Handle Document Management

It is now becoming commonplace for companies to have access to a large amount of their customer’s personal data nowadays. The definition of “personal data” is vast, but for day-to-day purposes it is best to treat all information that concerns living, identifiable individuals as personal data. The most important information of ours regards are health, and this is why establishments like the NHS take such precautions in safeguarding this data.

Creation and Distribution

It’s crucial that any record is complete and accurate from the very beginning. At a NHS hospital, a record is first created by an internal employee or received from an external source, such as another facility. This could be via pen and paper, or as part of an e-document or an entry in a larger database. When distributing this information, the Creation & Receipt Distribution Maintenance Use Disposition HS England Document and Records Management Policy 10 are attached to an email, or photocopied, printed, and delivered alongside regular mail. Once a record has been distributed, it becomes classified as used.

in_docActivity and Maintenance

The next process, also known as the active phase, refers to when records are used as part of the day-to-day running of the hospital. Once the documents are no longer needed to inform further actions, they’re placed under maintenance as a part of the records management system. They are kept here for legal or financial reasons until they have met their retention period.

The retention period differs for both the format of the document (paper, electronic, or audio recordings) as well as the subject matter. For instance, GP records are retained until ten years after the patient’s death or after the patient has permanently left the country, unless they remain in the European Union. Electronic patient records, meanwhile, must not be destroyed or deleted for the foreseeable future. This maintenance phase also includes any necessary transfers or retrievals. While information archived may be used as a resource for reference, it’s imperative that the original information is not amended. Files should be copied and tracked to ensure no changes were made.

One of the ways the NHS is able to deal with such large amounts of personal data securely is by working with third-parties such as TNT Business Solutions, who interface with NHS patient administration systems and manage around 300 million physical and digital records. If you don’t feel your company can devote the adequate resources required to securely protect your client’s information, consider outsourcing your documents management needs yourself.