Patient observations go electronic
Health professionals at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust are now using iPads to record patient observations as part of a digital revolution improving patient care.
More than 800 clinical staff are now using 160 mobile devices across the trust to record patient observations rather than writing them on paper charts.
The system automatically calculates the national early warning scores from the data entered, proactively warning staff of patients whose condition is deteriorating, so they can respond or escalate to senior or specialist colleagues and so improving patient safety.
Teams are using the system to monitor and record a patient’s vital signs such as blood pressure, heart rate, respiration and temperature. Future options include assessments for dementia, sepsis, alcohol intake, the risk of blood clots, and acute kidney injuries.
One of the places where the e-Obs system is used is the 48 bed Acute Assessment Unit where patients are assessed by medical and surgical teams after coming to the emergency department.
Andrew Pickles, Matron for Urgent Care at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust says:
“It has been a real positive improvement for our teams as the patient’s record is now all in one place and it means that all health professionals can access it at the same time. Our Acute Assessment Unit is a very busy unit with lots of different staff wanting to look at a patient’s records and so it saves valuable time.
It is also easier for the nurse in charge to have an overview of the acuity of the ward because it provides a bed-view screen, and you can see every patient’s early warning score at a glance so you know as a co-ordinator where you need to prioritise care. That’s very important from a patient safety point of view. It gives you more reassurance as the nurse in charge of a busy department that the patients are safe and any problems have been escalated appropriately and correctly.”
Project Lead Nurse at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust, Richard Rees-Jones adds:
“We’re already seeing benefits such as improved visibility of the National Early Warning scores, timely observations for patients, reduction in use of paper and improved staff morale”.
We are using this system on 13 of our adult inpatient units and we are preparing to rollout escalation notifications, neurological observations and warning scores for children, maternity patients and new-born babies.”