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Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Reimagining patient administration in Oxford

Robust administration is the foundation of a positive patient and clinician experience.

A strong, NHS-focussed patient administration system (PAS) is the cornerstone for all activity across the hospital and is an integral part of the electronic patient record (EPR). PAS is essential to connecting the patient journey and Trust-wide clinical information to underpin patient safety and inform commissioning.

Used well, a good PAS supports clear communication, improves patient engagement, and can help relieve patients’ anxiety at that time when they are in most need of a swift and straightforward experience. A good PAS helps ensure data is accurate, reliable and accessible across the organisation.

Technology has a key role to support administrators to ensure that the organisation is functioning effectively, and delivering a range of clinical, financial and operational benefits.

As development partner, Oxford were one of the first clients to be using Cerner’s new PAS, known locally as ‘RPAS’. Although they already used Cerner Millennium® and a previous PAS solution, since upgrading to RPAS, they are already seeing the value of the new system, as it helps them to improve efficiency and both the patient and clinician experience.

Of the services that are currently live with full functionality, pathway management has improved due to a more intuitive design providing all the required information in one place. This has been coupled with at-the-elbow support, to ensure that staff are able to use RPAS to its full potential.

PAS cannot be just left alone after go-live and the team at Oxford are very clear that a Trust’s PAS needs to grow and develop in order to stay effective and add value, advising that this relies on organisation-wide buy in at all staffing levels.

Saving fingers and saving time

Click fatigue is a real challenge when dealing with large patient numbers – not only does it frustrate administrators, clinicians and those they are caring for, it also increases the risk of errors. With RPAS in place, Oxford’s staff need 32% fewer clicks on average across all tasks.1

This has resulted in staff delivering the same administrative tasks as before up to 56% quicker, helping them do more in the time they have. Oxford manage over one million appointments every year, meaning that small efficiency gains can have huge impact.

The team are keen to highlight the major benefits of having a ‘single outpatient encounter per referral’. Clinicians have a single view to manage their patients and are now able to continue the encounter across services. This clarity helps them to improve clinical delivery, patient safety, reduce clinical risk, and provide a better experience.

All this comes alongside other benefits, such as accurate, real-time information that is accessible across the organisation, improved coding accuracy, real-time reporting capabilities, and the ability to grant power of attorney. Additional value is always being sought from the solution, with the developers looking into ways to improve the user experience, make referrals more efficient, and reduce duplications.  

“When you have a 50%+ reduction in processes, you can visually see the impact in our outpatient departments. Oncology and haematology in particular used to have queues out of the door on busy clinic days, and I don’t see that now.”

- RPAS lead 

By design, built in ‘PAS hardening’ now means that some required actions cannot be skipped by the user, and prevents staff from performing inappropriate actions at certain points in the workflow. This supports the Trust to maintain and improve processes.

Cerner work closely with our NHS clients to ensure that they are guiding the development and adding functionality where there are opportunities to make improvements. This shared challenge isn’t a simple one – staff at the Trust admit that while the system isn’t perfect yet, but it has made referral management better, reduced variation in end-user processes, and improved their data quality.


¹ Calculated by measuring reduction in time taken to ‘Add Referral, Accept Referral, Schedule; Check In, Check Out, Schedule Next Appointment; Cancel or DNA Appointment; in old PAS and new RPAS.

Client outcomes were achieved in respective settings and are not representative of benefits realised by all clients due to many variables, including solution scope, client capabilities and business and implementation models.

View All Client Achievement Stories
Client outcomes were achieved in respective settings and are not representative of benefits realised by all clients due to many variables, including solution scope, client capabilities and business and implementation models.