Leicester trust benefits from Hospital at Night solution

Out-of-hours management system replaces traditional bleepers to enhance patient care

University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Foundation Trust has gone live with the Nervecentre mobile healthcare Hospital at Night solution to support a new way of managing out-of-hours care.

Introduced as part of its Hospital 24/7 programme, Nervecentre replaces the trust’s traditional ‘bleep’ paper-based system for managing clinical tasks outside of normal working hours with one that enables the communication of live patient-related information between a senior nurse co-ordinator and clinicians’ secure smart phones over the trust’s wireless network.

The pager or bleep provides no visibility to allow us to direct our staff towards priorities, as there is no real-time information to establish what individuals are doing at any given time and no way of the clinician being able to use their judgment on the urgency of the request

In doing so, the trust will be better able to prioritise patient-related tasks based on clinical need and ensure that the right healthcare professional is guided to the right place at the right time. Nervecentre will also provide hospitals with data on out-of-hours activity and facilitate the prioritisation of services and clinical personnel.

Now for all non-core hours, comprising 75% of the week, the staff use Nervecentre to request and co-ordinate the allocation of all clinical requests from wards through to multidisciplinary clinical team. Compared to the use of a ‘bleep’, this reduces internal delays and improves accuracy and visibility of information, improving patient safety and staff experience, as well as providing a governance record of every activity performed in the hospital, allowing for continuous process improvement.

Caroline Barclay, Hospital 24/7 project manager at the trust, said: “The pager or bleep provides no visibility to allow us to direct our staff towards priorities, as there is no real-time information to establish what individuals are doing at any given time and no way of the clinician being able to use their judgment on the urgency of the request. We have trialled a number of Hospital at Night solutions to improve the way in which all non-urgent ward patient-related tasks are optimally managed, but until we came across Nervecentre we had not come across anything that was as simple to use and would put the right information directly in the hands of the right clinician.”

Nervecentre is fast becoming the de facto platform for out-of-hours hospital management, and once trusts realise the benefits, they quickly want to apply the same technology to address communication and governance challenges hospital-wide

The trust is one of the biggest and busiest in the country, incorporating the Leicester General, Glenfield and Leicester Royal Infirmary hospitals. It also has its own children’s hospital and runs one of the country’s leading heart centres, employing more than 10,000 staff.

Out-of-hours care is provided by teams comprising junior doctors, nurses and clinical aides, with all patient-related tasks managed by a senior nurse who triages the tasks and assigns each to a member of the team. Using the Nervecentre software and the trust’s wireless infrastructure, all tasks will now be logged on to a ward-based desktop PC, and the task sent wirelessly to the senior nurse co-ordinator who carries an iPhone, iPad or other smart tablet. The co-ordinator will then assign the task to the most appropriate team member. This will be received by the team member via their iPhone or other smartphone device. The task is accepted by the team member and is added to their task list held on their phone. It stays active until the team member has completed the task.

“Ultimately, it’s about patient safety. Nervecentre is an enabling IT solution that is designed around the needs of the patient and the clinician

Barclay said: “We know from experience that urgent tasks are typically appropriately managed during out-of-hours care. The difficulty comes in prioritising those non-urgent tasks. Without the ability to communicate patient-related information, it is impossible to make the value judgment between what really is a non-urgent ‘green’ task and one that is slightly higher priority or ‘amber’. Nervecentre, however, will enable us to prioritise tasks dependent on clinical need, and do so quickly and efficiently.

“Ultimately, it’s about patient safety. Nervecentre is an enabling IT solution that is designed around the needs of the patient and the clinician.”

Paul Volkaerts, managing director of Nervecentr, added: “In two months, we have deployed our technology on to the trust’s wireless network and mobile devices, trained their clinical staff, and delivered a service that is truly transformational to patients and staff. Nervecentre is fast becoming the de facto platform for out-of-hours hospital management, and once trusts realise the benefits, they quickly want to apply the same technology to address communication and governance challenges hospital-wide.”

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