Using laptops or tablets instead of paper for hospital rounds could save each doctor an hour a day, research suggests.

Doctors, who are famed for their illegible scrawl, will also be able to read other medics' notes, regardless of handwriting style, the authors said.

Medics spend around 56% of ward round time filling out paperwork, but this could be reduced to around 41% if doctors made use of technology, the study found.

Experts from Birmingham Women's Hospital's neonatal unit swapped paperwork for an electronic system for seven months last year.

Before the system was introduced, rounds on the intensive care and high dependency wards took an average of four hours and 58 minutes, but this reduced to four hours and one minute using the electronic system.

Historical data show that only 68% of entries into medical notes are legible, but an electronic system boosts this to 100%, they said.

The research is being presented at this week's Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health's annual conference in Birmingham.