Transforming care through mobile technology

Mobile technology in hospitals will revolutionise clinical processes, enabling staff to achieve higher levels of quality and efficiency, says Paul Volkaerts at Nervecentre Software

Traditional paper-based communication methods have long been associated in hospitals with accidental errors, omissions and misinterpretation, all of which are major, yet preventable, causes of patient harm. What is needed is a system that enables to effectively record, share and respond to patient information, at anytime from anywhere in a hospital. Nervecentre provides just that – a software platform that delivers mobile electronic observations, handover, task management and clinical assessment, 24 hours a day.

Observations of vital signs – pulse rate, body temperature, respiration rates and blood pressure – are recorded on mobile electronic devices, such as smartphones and tablets, and simultaneously into an intelligent centralised data storage platform. Up-to-date patient information is therefore instantly available to medical staff from any electronic device in the hospital, allowing prompt detection of changes in health status. Deteriorating vital signs are instantly identified by the system, which immediately alerts the most appropriate clinician, ensuring the delivery of timely and effective interventions.

This innovative technology enables compliance with the recommendation made in the Francis Report that observations should be accessible to all staff electronically, to ensure continuous monitoring. Furthermore, effective observation recording, communication and response are improvement indicators considered by the Commissioning for Quality and Innovation payment framework, which rewards NHS Trusts that excel in specified, agreed areas of care.

MULTIPLE, TANGIBLE BENEFITS

Nottingham University Hospitals is among the NHS Trusts that have pioneered the use of mobile communication technology. Following NHS funding, they chose Nervecentre to provide electronic observations to their 4,500 hospital clinicians. So far staff have recorded more than 500,000 observations with the system, identifying and communicating over 50,000 deteriorating patients.

Mobile working gives healthcare professionals the time, tools and information they need to deliver better, safer care for our patients

Patient observations do not operate in isolation; they are a small piece in a much bigger jigsaw. Studies show that up to 80 per cent of clinical incidents have communication as a contributing factor. The same mobile communication technology used to reduce intervention times for patients following taking of observations can be used to address many other hospital processes, such as the allocation of clinical tasks out of hours and safer handover on shift change. A whole hospital mobile platform can significantly improve patient outcomes and safety by optimising clinical workflow and communications, thereby contributing towards a sustainable NHS.

Nottingham University Hospitals have also successfully implemented Nervecentre’s mobile handover and task management. The former ensures continuous care and shared real-time patient information, while the latter notifies tasks to the most appropriate clinician, optimising workflow, and eliminating delays and interruptions, day and night. The result is an integrated communication system that provides benefits that go well beyond the simple elimination of bedside paper charts.

GREATEST LEAP FORWARD

As Caron Swinscoe, Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust chief nurse health informatics and head of clinical engagement, says: “Mobile working gives healthcare professionals the time, tools and information they need to deliver better, safer care for our patients, and will enable the greatest leap forward in safety and efficiency that Nottingham University Hospitals have seen.”

Nervecentre has delivered award-winning mobile systems to several other major hospitals in the UK and prides itself on providing solutions uniquely tailored to its customers’ individual needs. Employing bespoke, fully integrated mobile systems, which combine electronic observations, handover, task management and clinical assessment, facilitates healthcare organisations in achieving the highest standards of quality and safety, ultimately helping saving lives.

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