Hospital Using New Technology To Improve Record-Keeping

A South Tees Hospital Is Using iPads And iPods To Improve Record-Keeping


Dave Grimshaw, Press Officer | 0114 274 4397
A hospital in the South Tees has benefitted from the use of new record-keeping technology.

Doctors and nurses have been trained to use iPads and iPod Touches to take vital information about patients, reports the Gazette Live.

The scheme was announced in March by the South Tees Hospital Foundation Trust, which runs the James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough.

Procurement specialists were given £1 million to invest in the equipment and now most of the hospital is benefitting from its implementation.

Under the programme, staff take vital information - including heart rates, blood pressure and visual observations - and then upload it to a central server that creates physiological observations charts and national early warning scores (NEWS) for each person.

A report from the South Tees Hospital Foundation Trust will be published tomorrow, but it is widely expected that the organisation will praise the impact of the technology on patient safety.

During the Stafford Hospital crisis, it was identified that poor handover communication between nurses changing shifts was responsible - in part - for issues that led to the deaths of hundreds of patients.

Much of this issue is solved by the new system, which keeps all information on a universally accessible database.

Tricia Hart, trust chief executive, hailed the impact of the new technology: "The key benefits of the system is the more rapid identification of deteriorating patients which in pilot sites has led to a reduction in hospital and critical care length of stay and a reduction in mortality - all of which are a huge benefit to both patients and clinicians."

James Cook University Hospital is not the first hospital in the UK to begin using tablet computers to take patients' vitals.

Oxford's John Radcliffe Hospital began using iPads earlier this year to replace ageing monitoring systems that required intense involvement from both nurses and nursing assistants.

A&E nurse Julia Knight told the Oxford Mail: "Previously you had a paper chart and you are trying to get someone to review the patient and it is only in one place that is difficult for people working across different areas."

Expert Opinion
The technological advances and new tools being implemented to boost patient care within the NHS are a positive step and the trial of mobile devices in South Tees appears to have offered a range of benefits for patients and staff alike.

“Through our work we see the terrible consequences that can occur as a result of poor-record keeping by staff and we are pleased to see that the issue is being addressed and that lessons have been learnt from previous shortcomings.

“However, it is vital that hospital staff are appropriately trained to use the technology and correctly input data so that the number of mistakes relating to appropriate medication and treatment are reduced, improving standards of care and patient safety.”
Julie Lewis, Partner