Patientrack safety solution to be rolled out at NHS Fife

'Always on' system identifies deteriorating patients and supports early intervention

NHS Fife is to extend its use of an active safety and communication system solution from one ward to eight.

Patientrack's ‘always on’ solution helps clinical staff to quickly identity patients whose conditions are deteriorating and support intervention before they suffer adverse events.

The installation comes after Health Improvement Scotland set targets for all Scottish health boards to reduce patient mortality by 15%, reduce the incidence of adverse events by 30%, and help reduce the number of crash calls on wards by 30%.

Ronnie Monaghan, head of e-Health programmes at NHS Fife, said the board had already achieved improvements by implementing a paper-based system for using early warning scores (EWS) to identify deteriorating patients, but saw the potential of technology to further enhance its effectiveness. He added: "Patientrack helps us to tackle the issue of deteriorating patients in three ways. It helps staff take observations when they are due; it calculates early warning scores automatically from observations recorded electronically at the bedside so that staff don't have to spend time doing that; and it promotes active intervention when scores indicate that is needed, through an automatic alerting direct to the attending doctor.

“Early indications from a study in Manchester suggest these three factors working together are helping the NHS to identify and manage deteriorating patients more effectively."

Commenting on the decision to choose the Patientrack solution, he added: “It's no good just knowing you've got a patient with an elevated early warning score; you need to do something about it. That's why the alerting side of Patientrack is proving so powerful: it sends a message to the nominated clinician that 'patient in Ward X has a high early warning score >3 and needs attention now.' If the situation isn't dealt with quickly, then the alert is escalated to a more senior clinician. That's exactly what we wanted to help support staff, and what Patientrack provides."

NHS Fife now plans to roll Patientrack out onto a further six general wards at the Victoria Hospital and to introduce the solution into the A&E department. It is also looking to use it for sepsis assessments and end-of-life alerts and is considering introducing it onto medical assessment units to support a wider range of similar assessments. In addition, as part of its broader e-Health agenda, NHS Fife intends to integrate Patientrack into its clinical portal, allowing staff to view the electronic charts alongside other key patient records.

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