Developed by GOSH Clinical Site Practitioner and nurse, Sarah Newcombe, the solution uses mobile devices to electronically observe the vital signs in patients. It then automatically transmits alerts to relevant teams if it detects any signs of deterioration in a patient.
A crucial part of Sarah’s daily hospital role is to review patients across the Trust who become unwell during their stay.
Before the arrival of this technology, it was difficult for Sarah to identify the sickest patients prior to doing her rounds, particularly during out of hours, when there’s often 350 patients to look after.
Sarah has worked to implement a digital clinical communication tool for all members of the Inpatient Clinical Care Team, to ensure that the sickest patents can be prioritised and treated quickly. Sarah explains how, if the relevant information is communicated quickly and conveniently to clinicians, it can really make a difference to the care of patients.
“Our nurses and clinicians needed to know, in real time, where the sickest patients on our wards were, in order to respond quickly to prioritise care for those who needed it most.
“The benefits we’ve seen following the implementation of this new system are brilliant. It has really helped us to improve the visibility of our patients and the response times of clinicians. It has also saved thousands of nursing hours per year, and has delivered more than 50,000 Children’s Early Warning Score alerts per year.
Highlighting one of the solution’s key advantages, Sarah continued: “One of the biggest benefits is that nurses no longer need to leave the bedsides of sick children to call for extra help. If a patient’s condition deteriorates, the mobile device automatically instructs the nurse to stay with the patient, and sends an alert to senior staff."
Clinically driven technology
Caron Swinscoe, Clinical Lead for Nursing at NHS Digital, endorses this clinically driven system, she said: “Bedside technology gives clinical staff crucial information about patients in the palm of their hand which is accurate, up-to-date and shared by the whole team. Used effectively, it can ensure that changes in patients’ conditions are noted in real time and helps to ensure early recognition and quick action, vital in the care of sick patients.”
Anne Cooper, Chief Nurse at NHS Digital, said: “Nurses are the bedrock of health and care – so much is asked of them and yet they consistently deliver world class care for their patients. The RCN is absolutely right to be placing such a priority on ensuring nurses across the NHS have the tools, skills and resources they need to make the best use of technology and act as effective e-nurses.”
Janet Davies, Chief Executive and General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, said:
“The RCN is pleased to be working with NHS Digital for the benefit of the whole nursing workforce, and their patients. Technology and data are transforming healthcare, presenting huge opportunities to improve treatment, patient safety and wellbeing. It’s vital that nurses have the skills they need to make the most of these opportunities, and that’s what this project is all about.”
Professor Jane Cummings, Chief Nursing Officer for England, said: “I’m delighted that organisations across England are endorsing the ‘every nurse an e-nurse campaign’. Digital technology has a key role in improving delivery of care, health outcomes and efficiency and there is a real opportunity for all nursing, midwifery and care staff to take a lead on its development and use wherever they work.”
Patients and their families have also been supportive of the technology. It has proven to be an effective means of interacting with children and young people, with Sarah emphasising how talking patients through the observations can be more immersive and engaging ‘than a traditional chart would be’.
Sarah also scooped a Digital Leadership Award from NHS Digital earlier this year, for her innovative work, and now shares her knowledge of this pioneering bedside technology with other Trusts.