New handheld devices rolled out to improve patient safety at a number of hospitals
The smartphones allow staff to record vital observations at the bedside, such as blood pressure and heart rate, and help staff to quickly recognise any patient whose condition may be deteriorating so swift action can be taken.
The devices integrate with the Trust’s existing electronic WebV system which is a bespoke ‘virtual ward’ system designed alongside clinicians. It is used by a range of staff including nurses, doctors, therapists and pharmacists to help improve the way patients are managed on hospital wards. The system alerts staff when observations are overdue, gives access to test results and allows staff to view a whole ward or even an entire hospital virtually as a bed management system. Staff can see at a glance which patients are on which ward, under which consultant and whether they have any particular health needs such as diabetes or requiring support with eating and drinking.
The rollout of the handheld devices is part of the ‘deteriorating patient’ improvement project at the Trust which involves a number of initiatives to improve staff response rates and interventions required for patients whose condition may be worsening.
Jenn Orton, project lead and associate chief nurse for surgery and critical care, said: “Taking timely observations is a vital part of ensuring we are recognising and acting on patients who are deteriorating. We have rolled the devices out to 22 wards so far and over the coming months every ward will receive this new technology.”
As the devices are mobile, staff can record observations quicker meaning patients who are deteriorating can be picked up faster and given the care intervention they need more quickly.
The deteriorating patient project is part of the Trust’s wider Improving Together programme which was set up in response to the CQC report. It replaces the previous CQC action plan and brings together everything the Trust is working on in terms of quality and safety, access and flow, OD and culture and sustainability.
Jen added: “The devices do look like mobile phones so we have had a number of comments from patients and visitors about staff being on their phones in work time. Please look out for the ‘W’ sticker on the back of the device which signifies it’s one of our WebV devices.”
This new feature is just one of many of the WebV system that can help improve the care provided to patients at the Trust. It has already proved to be a benefit to patient care when it was used to help the Trust become compliant with national targets on dementia assessments.