'Hackers' invent handover app that could save NHS £3m a year

Award-winning free software improves handover of patients between shifts and departments

The creators of a free healthcare app which took top prize at the first ever NHS Hack Day have told BBH the product has the potential to save the NHS more than £3m a year.

NHS Hack Day brought together doctors, programmers and software developers to create innovative and high-tech solutions to everyday problems within the NHS. In just 24 hours the winning team created a browser-based Patient List system to improve the handover of patients.

Replacing the traditional task-list method usually used by staff, the application uses a feed from the hospital’s electronic medical record to provide doctors with a list of all their patients, allowing them to create task lists, update a patient’s record of care and better manage the handover of patients between shift teams and hospital departments.

Paul Wilson, managing director of New Context Scotland, who developed the software in conjunction with representatives from ValueDecision, Tactix4, the Health Protection Agency and St Thomas’ Hospital, said: “I’m delighted to announce that we are developing our winning idea into a free open-source product that can be easily downloaded and installed by any NHS hospital trust. Our solution will reduce the errors that occur during shift handovers and when patients move between departments. We estimate this innovation has the potential to save £3.6m worth of time; time that can then be devoted to frontline patient care.”

Following the event, the team is now working to get the product beyond the proof-of-concept stage and efforts so far can be viewed online.

The application has already attracted the attention of Professor Sir Liam Donaldson who, in a recent interview with E-Health Insider, said: “So many of the problems in healthcare - the errors, the mistakes, the lapses in standards of care - occur during handovers of care from one team to another.”

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