Following a successful pilot scheme, all medical wards at Noble’s Hospital are now equipped with a digital patient monitoring and observation system, helping to deliver enhanced care and a range of safety benefits.
Called Patientrack, the system allows nursing staff to replace the previous paper-based observation sheets with hand-held digital devices which are used at the bedside. These record regular patient observations – such as respiration rate, pulse, blood pressure and temperature – and use these to calculate a score indicating the patient’s current physiological status. The score can then be used to indicate whether the patient is stable, improving or worsening.
Simple visual indicators are used to show when any patient’s condition demands escalation to the relevant specialist team, making sure this happens more speedily than with a paper-based approach.
Patientrack also reminds nursing staff when observations are due to be taken, whether the patient is on a standard observation cycle or has a personalised observation regime for their specific circumstances.
Experience of Patientrack in hospital trusts in the UK has shown that, in conjunction with other significant acute care initiatives, there have been potential benefits of a reduction in cardiac arrest rate, a reduced risk of death in out of hours’ admissions, and a reduction in critical care length of stay.
The system is linked in to the National Early Warning Score (NEWS) observation programme, a tried and trusted method of monitoring patients’ clinical condition which was introduced into Noble’s Hospital in 2015.
Funding for the system came from the Health Inspection Fund, established in 2014 to help deliver service improvements arising from the external peer review programme of health services.
Each ward using Patientrack has a centrally-positioned monitor which lets the nursing team see the current status of each patient and when the next observations are due. In addition, medical and critical care teams are able to monitor patients’ observations on participating wards from anywhere in the hospital, to ensure that they have early warning of any potentially serious deterioration in a patient’s condition.
Kate Gaunt, Patientrack Clinical Lead, who has been leading the implementation said:
“Clinical staff are all very busy people and any new observation system, with all the learning and training that goes with it, really has to prove its worth. Patientrack has done just that. And it’s the dedication and engagement of all the nursing staff that made it possible. I’d like to extend my personal thanks to them for the hard work they’ve put in during such challenging times across the hospital.”
Director of Government Technology Services, Richard Wild, said:
“This is another significant milestone in the Government’s Digital Strategy. This digital technology, coupled with the staff engagement that makes it possible, is proof of our commitment to enhancing patient care. And it is evidence, too, that patient safety can be improved at the same time as real cost savings are achieved. Patientrack is a core element in a range of other digital changes we will be introducing at Noble’s Hospital and further afield.”
The next steps for Patientrack at Noble’s Hospital are the introduction of the system across all surgical wards, the Emergency Department and women and children’s wards.