In the health service, writing everything down on pen and paper is not always efficient and there are considerable patient safety benefits of moving towards electronic ways of working.
Now, South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has received £1.35million to invest in new technology as part of its ambition to be ‘paperless’ in the future.
The significant amount was awarded by the Integrated Digital Care Fund to support the trust in moving from paper-based clinical record keeping to an integrated electronic system.
The Fund – previously known as the Safer Hospitals, Safer Wards Technology Fund – was launched in May 2013 by NHS England and the Secretary of State for Health to improve information flow across care settings.Digital systems have the potential to benefit patients and clinicians by enabling safer, more joined-up care through the sharing of comprehensive clinical information, hopefully leading to improved clinical decision-making.
It is the latest investment to come into the trust – last year it received £1.4m from NHS England’s Nurse Technology Fund on two projects which have already made a real difference to staff and patients.
Vital signs monitoring (£1million) This patient safety initiative is helping ward-based clinicians to record clinical data on hand held devices, so the NEWS – national early warning score – can be calculated electronically and accurately in a standardised manner. The project further supports the escalation of care for deteriorating and high risk patients.
Mobile computing in community (£444,000) Thanks to this funding, new high specification and lightweight laptops have been introduced for staff mobile working in the community, supporting patients in their own homes.
Medical director Richard Wight said: “We are beginning to move our IT services forward with pace. Investment is coming through on the core IT infrastructure and this is laying the foundation for us to expand our digital enhancements to support improved care.
“In a little over a year, we have successfully been awarded £2.8million of investment in our clinical systems. This is a tremendous achievement and supports us delivering an increasingly effective service that meets the growing demands of clinicians and patients.”
Director of finance and performance Chris Newton added: “The team has worked incredibly well to secure such a large investment of funds. We know that more can be achieved through our IT services but it all costs money.
“Obtaining such a large investment from external funds is a real success story and can provide a step-change in the way we work and the benefits which can be delivered to patients. In such difficult financial times for much of the NHS, this really is great news for our trust.”
The trust is now working with software company, Kainos, to implement Evolve as the foundation of a new clinical noting system which will make a noticeable difference to the way we work and looks at key areas such as e-discharge.
Nigel Hutchinson, head of Evolve at Kainos, added “We are delighted to be working with South Tees to help revolutionise their patient care through more efficient information capture and access wherever that care takes place.
This project is a great example of where better information, powered by the Evolve platform, can make a real difference in patient treatment and outcomes”