Case Studies

Case Studies

Increasing clinical space, reducing costs, and improving inventories for West Hertfordshire Teaching Hospital

The customer

West Hertfordshire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust (WHHT) provides acute healthcare services to half a million people in West Hertfordshire and the surrounding area. They also provide more specialist services to a wider population, in East Hertfordshire, North London, Bedfordshire, and Buckinghamshire.

As an employer of almost 5,000 people, the trust is one of the biggest employers in the area and sees a million patients each year.

Restore has been working with WHHT for over 10 years, managing and storing their files. Prior to this requirement we

stored 132,000 boxes, containing 875,000 files and handle around 5,300 requests per month.

The Trust’s 3 main hospitals shared 2 libraries, between them holding approximately 350,000 medical records and 28,000 boxes.

Facing acute and immediate pressures, WHHT urgently needed additional clinical space. Their current operation was functioning under limiting factors such as insufficient storage space. The storage arrangements made it difficult to locate records quickly and easily, and that there were high volumes of unstructured data. For these reasons, the Trust decided to re-purpose the libraries, to provide additional clinical capacity, and find a better way of managing their records.

Initially, WHHT’s preferred strategy to meet their goals was to digitise their entire holding. We reviewed their archive and presented them with our findings. The volume of unstructured data made scanning everything disproportionately costly.

Managing and storing the records off-site was a quick and cost-effective way to create the required clinical space. Also giving the Trust the opportunity to dispose of their legacy records, thereby reducing the cost of digitisation; allowed them to take a more considered approach to their digital strategy, over time; and focus the library staff on supporting activities introduced with the new Electronic Patient Record system.
A detailed project plan was put together working with the Trust to successfully transfer 350,000 notes in 12-weeks. We achieved this through a dedicated logistics and inbound team to ensure all records being transferred were processed and available within 24 hours.

Following the successful transfer, approved members of the WHHT’s staff could make an order up to 5pm to be delivered by 7am the following day. This process worked well, and monthly retrieval and collection requests quickly increased to over 22,700, across the Trust’s three hospital sites. To meet this level of demand, we introduced a dedicated transport solution for the Trust, allocating to them, specific vehicles between 9pm and 7am Monday to Friday. In addition to better serving the Trust’s needs, our approach provided enhanced security, as our vehicles undertook point-to-point delivery.

We also worked with the Trust to automate the records ordering process. Together, we developed and deployed a unique software interface between the Trust’s Patient Administration System (PAS) and our Records Management System (RMS). Our flexibility of developing a bespoke ordering process ensured we met their specific needs. Through this interface we receive upcoming patient appointments, pick the required records, sort them by clinic code, and deliver them to the requisite hospitals.

The automated ordering system prioritises records for delivery by appointment order rather than by request order. This ensures that records are delivered on time for all patient appointments, even if scheduled for the following day. It also saves a huge amount of time and cost, manual ordering 23,000 files per month equates to 4-5 FTE staff. The PAS-RMS interface has led to a 90% reduction in WHHT staff placing manual requests, allowing them more time to focus on clinic/record duties.

We also agreed with the Trust a proactive process to identify, retrieve, and confidentially destroy records that had reached the end of their retention period.; thereby reducing their long-term storage costs.

We supported WHHT through a notable change in their PAS which included updating the hospital number of all 1.23m records.

WHHT are now able to repurpose the libraries for front line clinical services, providing a more cost-effective solution than building new space. Restore now manage all the Trust’s files, providing them with structured data.

The consolidation and improved accessibility of files has reduced the creation of temporary notes and loose filing, allowing for more complete patient histories, supporting better patient care, and improving data protection.

The automated ordering system we developed has dramatically reduced the time staff spend placing requests for records, allowing them to further focus on patient care.

We provided advice to the Trust on how they could move away from using physical records, enabling them to reduce their physical archive. We supply clear and concise management information to the Trust as an ongoing service, providing transparency around information governance of personal data stored with us. This gives the Trust peace of mind that they are compliant with all data protection legislation, that patient data is treated with the utmost care and that they have fully auditable, GDPR-compliant, databases.

  • 160,000 boxes and 1,227,000 files in store
  • +22,700 monthly requests
  • 1.23m hospital records
  • 200,000 files recommended and due for distruction
  • 90% reduction in WHHY staff placing manual requests


“The team at Restore Records Management are what made this project a huge success for West Herts; the positive yet driven approach of individuals with the swift availability for a phone call or meeting, resulted in the best partnership I have experienced with any provider to date. In parallel to the project team, the ability to automate ordering and through that automation effectively govern on a larger scale what records were and were not automatically available, have made the off-siting and health record strategical archiving possible. The time and cost efficiencies have been significant and have helped advance the Trust to focus on new digitally driven activities.”

Jo Wilder, Health Record Programme Manager & Martine Mason, Assistant Divisional Manager of Health Records and Outpatients

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