East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust is joining more than 50 leading hospitals in Europe by using our innovative solution, which leverages a light patient tracking system, to ensure patients can be located at any moment anywhere on the Trust’s surgical wards and automatically notify staff by means of live-data screens about important events such as when patient or operating theatre is ready for surgery.
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Given the extent of the pressures facing the NHS with a record 5 million patients waiting to start hospital treatment at the end of March 2021, running surgical departments efficiently has become a high priority for every NHS hospital.
Thanks to our real-time location patient flow system, clinical staff and managers can see at a glance where each patient is in the surgical pathway which helps to improve staff coordination and seamless delivery of care. This translates to a better experience for professionals, patients, families and in turn, achieving better performance. The system works by using Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) gateways to receive information from small tags that are incorporated into the patient’s hospital wristband. These tags generate real time data across the surgical journey which enables live information and notifications to the various tailored apps used by each surgical team. Another important benefit is that activities along the process are registered automatically relieving staff from inputting data into the information system. This boosts data quality and helps on achieving undisputable times that everyone agrees.
It has already been implemented successfully at 50 hospitals in Europe including Vall D’Hebron in Spain where it is helping to control patient flow and avoid bottlenecks, which leads to service efficiency improvement and increase capacity. Patients’ relatives can check the status of the patient within the clinical process, avoiding staff interruptions and increasing patient/family satisfaction. By enabling theatres to start on time and surgery times to be tracked, Vall D’Hebron improved surgery performance in more than 10% in the General Surgery Site with 19 operating theatres achieving savings of over 2 million Euros in the first year.
In the UK, NHS Improvement reported a third of operations start at least 30 mins late and the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement calculate that the average trust has an opportunity to save £7 million a year by running a productive theatre team who know the progress of their patient even when they are in other parts of the hospital, meaning they can work seamlessly together for the patient.
Alexis Warman, Service Development Lead, East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust is clear about the potential benefits of the system. “Whilst we can track and monitor patients across the hospital thus improving timeliness and communication, one of the other core benefits of this system is that the data will be indisputably accurate, will be in real-time, and will have been created automatically. This reduces the reliance and resource pressure on the staff to input the information manually and provides us with a wholly precise recording of every stage of the patient’s theatre journey.
“As a result, the data is powerful and can quickly highlight areas of focus and drive change. This pilot will allow us to investigate and measure all of the changes and benefits of having such a system in place and enable us to predict the scale of the benefits if this system were to be implemented across all theatres.”
The system is being implemented with the support of Beautiful Information, an NHS/private partnership offering unique real-time information to NHS organisations to help them plan and resource clinical services. Scott Parker, managing director, said: “The solution will complement Beautiful Information’s real-time solutions already embedded at the Trust, providing valuable data to feed into its operational dashboards and patient tracking lists. This will give better visibility of theatre activity, helping to improve efficiency and patient care.”
Annys Bossom, our UK General Manager said: “This is a first for a UK hospital trust and one we are genuinely excited about because we know that other leading hospitals in Europe have already made significant improvements which ultimately benefit patients.”