Mums-to-be in Bradford will soon be able to access their pregnancy notes in their own home.
Starting this month, Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust will become one of the first hospitals in the country to introduce a paperless maternity service.
It will replace paper notes with online records that can be viewed securely over the internet.
Dawn Jankowicz, the Trust’s specialist midwife for the maternity information system, said: “Questionnaires with our Bradford mums-to-be indicated that most have access to a computer and are happy to look at their record electronically.
“Women will now be able to access up-to-date, legible and clear information about what has gone on in their pregnancy so far at the touch of a button and from within their own homes.”
Women will be able to print notes off for their GPs and if they go to live or visit another area, they will be able to instantly access them. Anyone who does not want electronic records or who does not have a computer at home can opt to have paper records.
The paperless scheme will gradually be rolled-out across the Foundation Trust, with midwives being trained individually.
Mrs Jankowicz said: “We already automatically transfer electronic discharge summaries to GPs, but now this new development will ensure that our community staff are poised to record all the antenatal care on laptops.”
At the hospital, labour ward staff will also be able to see the information on screen and it will save midwives time because at the moment they are having to write booking details on paper as well as input them.
“This new technology will enable us to lessen the burden on midwives as it will free them up to spend more time with women and less time on administration,” said Mrs Jankowicz.
Community midwives already carry laptops and the Foundation Trust is looking at how to get more funding to improve the IT hardware.
Another idea is the introduction of an electronic white board in the maternity unit which can use information from the maternity computer system to track a woman’s admission, transfer and discharge.