A bespoke electronic record system is transforming the treatment of patients at Alpha Hospitals.

Alpha, which is owned by the London-based private equity firm C&C Alpha Group, is a leading provider of specialist mental health care for adults and adolescents. It works in partnership with NHS England and local NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups.

Patients are at the heart of the new electronic system, which has replaced a paper-based system. The Hospital Group decided to adopt the RiO system, which is supplied to mental health trusts and community service organisations, but rather than adopting an “off the shelf” solution, it developed a bespoke configuration led by former nurse director Trish McCaffrey.

This has allowed greater accessibility of patient records because multiple members of staff can see them immediately and at the same time. Allowing staff to access and record information efficiently, not wasting time trying to clarify handwriting, has allowed more time to be spent on patient care.

By placing the patient at the heart of the project, Alpha has also discovered its bespoke system is improving care quality standards. As a member of staff records notes, they are given best practice prompts to consider. Reports can be run that create an audit system, measuring how team members are performing across all aspects of care. Meanwhile, when patients read their notes they see their name throughout the documents, giving them a personalised experience.

The system has wider benefits too – visiting Care Quality Commission inspectors are immediately able to access all the files they need, and when a patient is discharged a summary of their files can be sent immediately to their GP.

The system has been introduced in the Group’s Adult Services and Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services at its state-of-the-art facilities in Woking and Sheffield. It is also operating in children and adolescent services at Bury and will be rolled out across adult services there later this year.

Chief executive Patricia Hodgkinson said: “We are delighted with the system and, most importantly, how everyone has embraced the programme. It has been a real team effort, with ideas coming from across the organisation. That engagement is now paying off in improved efficiencies and even greater quality of patient care”.

Alpha Hospitals has more than 300 in-patient beds at its three facilities and its guiding belief that everyone with a mental illness has the ability to recover. It specialises in caring for patient with very complex conditions, which often require a secure hospital setting.