Emergency department image

Scotland's first digital hospital takes shape – new technology improves emergency department patient care

A first for Scotland’s NHS has been achieved through testing of a hi-tech system to flag how sick patients are when they come to an emergency department.

As part of the digital planning for Lanarkshire’s new, state-of-the-art hospital, the technology has been tested for the first time in a Scottish emergency department (ED) by staff at University Hospital Monklands.

The trial of the Patientrack digital patient observations system is being spearheaded by the Monklands Replacement Project (MRP) – NHS Lanarkshire’s exciting vision for the replacement University Hospital Monklands (UHM), which will be Scotland’s first digital hospital when it opens around 2031 at Wester Moffat in Airdrie.

Monklands is the first ED in Scotland to use electronic observations as it works to ensure its digital systems align with plans for the new hospital.

The technological approach reflects the process of innovation that is at the core of phase three of NHS Lanarkshire’s Operation FLOW, which has a focus on transformation and reform.

“The new system moves away from using paper charts to record key clinical observations such as blood pressure, heart rate, oxygen levels and temperature,” said Dr Gordon McNeish, UHM emergency medicine consultant.

“Instead, clinical staff enter these onto iPads as patients arrive in ED and are assessed in cubicles.”

Gordon, who is NHS Lanarkshire’s associate medical director for unscheduled care, continued: “The benefit of the system in an ED is that it automatically calculates a ‘National Early Warning Score’ (NEWS).

“The score helps us work out how quickly a patient should be seen and how frequently their observations should be repeated.

“Instead of having to check through individual sheets of paper to discover which patients are sickest, and when observations are due, there’s a large touchscreen monitor in the main clinical area.

“This hi-tech approach allows the co-ordinating team to see real-time observations, NEWS scores and outstanding tasks for all ED patients at the same time.

Overall, the system is thought to allow a batter distribution of resources for the sickest patients, as well as improved oversight of patients waiting to be seen.

MRP redesign lead Donna McHenry, said: “The goal is for the new Monklands to be Scotland’s first digital hospital, using systems that allow the most agile technological assistance for patients, staff and visitors.”

Donna, who is coordinating the use of Patientrack at the hospital, added: “That’s why the current Monklands site is leading the way in taking forward digital advances, such as Patientrack, which was previously introduced on wards and is now successfully working in ED.”

Image credit: iStock

Website cover

NHE May/June 2024

Join the conversation shaping the future of healthcare.

Click below to read more!

More articles...

View all
Online Conference


2024 Online Conferences

In partnership with our community of health sector leaders responsible for delivering the UK's health strategy across the NHS and the wider health sector, we’ve devised a collaborative calendar of conferences and events for industry leaders to listen, learn and collaborate through engaging and immersive conversation. 

All our conferences are CPD accredited, which means you can gain points to advance your career by attending our online conferences. Also, the contents are available on demand so you can re-watch at your convenience.

National Health Executive Podcast

Listen to industry leaders on everything within healthcare

Whether it's the latest advancements in medical technology, healthcare policies, patient care innovations, or the challenges facing healthcare providers, we cover it all.


Join us as we engage with top healthcare professionals, industry leaders, and policy experts to bring you insightful conversations that matter.