Funding from NHSX’s Digital Aspirant programme has helped St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust (STHK) to fast-track work to digitally transform its care, integrating a new electronic patient record (EPR) system.
As part of the new EPR’s various capabilities and modules, the trust has been able to support more than 2,000 clinicians and staff moving paperless for observations, assessments, handovers and referrals.
Recent data showed more than 30,000 electronic handovers were being completed per month within the trust.
There has also been the opportunity to implement a real-time system for the management of patient flow through the hospital, as well as future plans to introduce further electronic care capabilities and a clinical workspace to bring together all necessary clinical information into a single, integrated platform.
These steps help reduce administrative burdens on staff and allow them to focus more time on care delivery, improving patient care across the trust.
The newly-implemented mobile electronic handover system streamlines the process for clinicians, as well as standardising the format, which provides greater consistency, efficiency and collaboration - all of which work in conjunction to improve patient safety.
Handover notes are dynamically updated by multi-professional teams, with each entry and amendment date and time stamped to create a robust audit trail.
Whereas previously, handovers were often recorded as paper-based records and would require the moving of physical medical notes from ward to ward, the new electronic handover system allows key information to travel with the patient seamlessly as they move between departments within the trust.
Christine Walters, STHK’s Director of Informatics, said: “Early evidence is showing the new functionality is saving around 20 minutes per ward round and we are planning a robust benefits study later in the year.
“It’s a brilliant example of technology enabling increased productivity and quality of care, which is a major plus in the trust’s drive to better support our staff and patients.”
The implementation of the EPR and its functions also helps STHK make steady progress towards its target of removing 90% of paper from the trust.
Ragit Varia, Clinical Director and Consultant in Acute Medicine at STHK, added: “Not only has [the new EPR] standardised and streamlined patient referrals, but it has enabled enhanced accessibility via clinician’s devices.
“This means the shift lead can have a helicopter view of all acute admissions, and resources can be maximised using the task management facility.”