Information Sharing Crucial to Meeting UK and European Healthcare Goals

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Research published by Ricoh has revealed that 81 per cent of healthcare professionals across the UK and European regions said their organisations are investing in new technologies to be more productive and to enable remote working.

With the European Commission now setting targets for the cost efficiency of healthcare systems, it is crucial that leaders across the UK healthcare industry act now to ensure a planned, integrated approach to their technology investments.

The research also found that only two-fifths (41 per cent) said they have overcome the challenge of sharing information internally, and nearly two-thirds (62 per cent) said information sharing was worse, or just the same as in 2009. The figures highlight the information sharing challenges for the healthcare sector, as it seeks to meet the goals set by the European Commission to improve the efficiency of healthcare systems.

The findings are from 'A New Perspective: Ricoh Document Governance Index 2012’, an independent study conducted by Coleman Parkes Research and commissioned by Ricoh. It provides a fresh perspective into how business-critical document processes are being managed in healthcare, education, legal, utilities/energy, public sector, retail, manufacturing and financial services sectors. In healthcare such processes underpin everything from operations such as finance, HR and procurement, to patient records and drug/dispensary information.

The European Commission’s Social Investment Package for Growth and Cohesion, which was launched on 20th February 2013, explicitly states the need to deliver ‘cost efficiency through sound innovation and by developing tools that better assess the performance of health systems.’ However for many healthcare establishments this may prove to be a challenge. 95 per cent of respondents said the increasing amount of information, from multiple sources, that they need to manage, is having an impact on the way they work. Furthermore, more than half of healthcare professionals (51 per cent) report that the collaboration tools introduced have made the management of business critical documents more difficult.

Effective information sharing processes, supported by technology investment, can help deliver huge efficiency gains for organisations if they are introduced alongside a process that enables integration with existing systems. Paul Braham, Director, IT Services and Professional Services, Ricoh UK says, “With the European Commission now setting targets for the cost efficiency of healthcare systems, it is crucial that leaders across the UK healthcare industry act now to ensure a planned, integrated approach to their technology investments and information sharing tools, to meet these targets.”

The need for process innovation is further highlighted by the fact that 78 per cent said their organisations are investing in new technology before realising the functionality of existing tools. Furthermore, once these investments are made, 32 per cent of employees (non c-level/directors) in the healthcare sector said they do not receive full training when new technology is introduced. Finally, despite investments in new technologies such as tablets and personal devices, 38 per cent believe their introduction has made the process of managing business critical information even more complicated than it was before.

Braham added: “Both the European Commission and the UK’s healthcare sector recognise the importance of technology in helping to deliver improved services through the more effective sharing of information. The task is for industry leaders to effectively audit their document processes and optimise them to better meet business-critical needs. Such steps can have significant benefits and support healthcare professionals to meet their ultimate goal - improving healthcare outcomes for citizens across UK and Europe.”

About Ricoh

Ricoh is a global technology company specialising in office imaging equipment, production print solutions, document management systems and IT services.

Under its corporate tagline, imagine.change. Ricoh helps companies transform the way they work and harness the collective imagination of their employees.

For further information, please visit http://www.change.ricoh.co.uk.

For further information, please contact Anna Powell, Proof Digital on behalf of Ricoh UK Ltd [e] anna(at)itsproof(dot)co(dot)uk.

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Anna Powell
Ricoh UK
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