Case Study – Avena: Colchester Hospital

The Challenge

Like many healthcare providers, Colchester Hospital were using a confidential data destruction company that provided a ‘floor walk’ service.

Every week, representatives of the company would walk around the hospital departments, emptying the 285 secure bins on site and shredding the contents.

For this, they were charged a fixed sum per bin, even if the bins were only partly used, as was frequently the case.

A bin typically holds up to 87.5 kg of paper, and as the hospital on average produces 1800 kg per week, the system was operating at 7.2% efficiency.

In other words –

92.8% of their ‘confidential data’ was actually fresh air.

The hospital, which is managed by the East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust, was trying to find ways of reducing the cost of secure data destruction. They could have used hospital porters to remove the bins from the departments and stockpile them near a delivery bay, for the shredding company to collect and process each week.

However, this would have meant additional work for an already stretched portering team, or increased staffing costs, and possible non-compliance with Information Governance. There would also be the challenge of how departments might communicate to the portering team when full bins are ready to be exchanged for empty bins. It would be more efficient for the portering team to carry out several exchanges at once rather than on demand, but a reliable system would be needed to log all requests and check them off as the exchanges are made.

Other factors to consider with this method might include area congestion and increased fire hazard, while storing unattended bins in a location near to an exit could potentially result in a breach of Information Governance.

The Solution

Avena offered the hospital an alternative – their innovative Securall® Management Platform.

Unique in the data destruction industry, this system allows departmental staff to notify Avena directly when a bin is full, via an integrated portal on the hospital’s intranet.

Requests are added in real-time to the portal, which is shared by Avena and the hospital’s Estates and Facilities team. This streamlines the whole process and enables full auditability in conformance with Information Governance.

On arrival at the hospital site, Avena representatives use the unique notification system to confirm which bins are ready for emptying. They only visit those locations and the hospital only pays for the bins that are emptied.

The Results

  • Avena only access areas where bins need emptying, so there is a reduced risk of spreading external or healthcare-acquired infection (HCAI)
  • As bins are only emptied once they are full, the system now works at 100% efficiency

The Feedback

“Avena’s Securall Management Platform has given us better control over data destruction at departmental level and improved waste management efficiency.
“The new system also restricts the time Avena spends on-site and reduces their movement between departments, which is an added benefit.
“I would have no hesitation in recommending Avena and the Securall system to every hospital and healthcare provider. “
Portering and Waste Manager Estates and Facilities,
East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust

Our Client

Avena provide safe destruction of documents, clothing and IT media to safeguard against data breaches, fines, and identity theft.
Operating throughout the UK, they are fully compliant with BS EN: 15713-2009 code of practice.