South East Coast Ambulance Service’s (SECAmb’s)
innovative electronic Patient Clinical Record (ePCR) project will
expand further having been given Board approval to be used by all
clinicians across the Trust’s Thanet Operational Unit area.

The project, in which clinicians are
personally issued with iPads, enables ambulance crews to complete
patient records electronically, streamlining communication with
hospitals, as well as saving on paper and time.

To date 20 staff in Thanet have been using the
iPads and have now completed more than 1,000 ePCRs as part of the
extended testing and rollout process. Over the coming weeks and
months the iPads will be issued to a further approximately 200

The project has been continually assessed and
improved since its’ operational launch in October 2015 with an
improved software version deployed recently.

SECAmb IT Development Project Manager Karen
Mann said: “The development of our ePCR is an important part of the
Trust’s plans to streamline the handover process with hospital
emergency departments at the same time as reducing the amount of
paper used. It will also be useful for our clinicians during
assessments for patients not conveyed to hospital and eventually
improve our links with local healthcare teams and GP

SECAmb paramedic Mike Earl was one of the
first paramedics to use the iPad and ePCR application. He said:
“This is a really worthwhile innovation. The quality of the
documentation is much better and more legible. With it being
electronic there are no constraints to a text box and you can write
as much as you like without the need to fill in a continuation
sheet as you would have to with the paper system.

“It’s also of benefit that data can be
captured and audited instantly and although we’re in the early
stages it’s also been well received by our hospital colleagues.
Staff also like the fact that with the software operated on an
iPad, the equipment is multi-functional.”

The scheme is expected to next roll-out across
SECAmb’s Ashford operational area in Kent and eventually throughout
the rest of the Trust’s region.

SECAmb’s ePCR project has been developed with
leading UK-based IT provider Kainos utilizing their Evolve

Head of SECAmb IT Mark Chivers said: “This is
an important project for the Trust. Not only does it improve
patient care and efficiency but it also takes us forward on our
mission to be digitally mature.”

“The iPad is intuitive and the clinicians use
it not just for the ePCRs but also for messaging, web browsing and
more, while keeping data safe utilizing the iOS’ inherent security

The project team has been working closely with
the hospitals in the trial area to ensure a smooth and secure
handover process.

SECAmb’s ePCR Clinical Lead Steve Topley said:
“Providing a hospital with a seamless handover of accurate legible
electronic handover notes makes it quicker and easier for them to
provide rapid, focused care. It saves precious time and can greatly
improve safety for patients.”

By consolidating four paper forms into one
electronic form the Trust eliminates duplicate information and has
a joined-up system that works on and offline.

SECAmb is currently the only ambulance Trust
in the UK using iPads for its clinical records. A bold decision
that has drawn considerable interest from other UK Trusts,
especially because a corporately owned, personally enabled policy
was adopted.

This has ensured the device is
multi-functional for clinicians and will open up avenues for
further use and development in the future.