A new electronic observations (e-Obs) system for monitoring patients’ conditions is improving safety and giving nurses at Basildon University Hospital more time to give care and treatment.
Previously, clinical staff took observations such as the patient’s temperature, pulse and blood pressure and hand-wrote them in the notes at the end of each bed. The new Patientrack system, or e-Obs, means that nurses and healthcare assistants can log these observations using iPads. As well as eliminating unnecessary paperwork and freeing up nurses’ time, the system also flags up when a patient’s condition is deteriorating, making sure those who need extra care receive it promptly.
Sam Neville, clinical informatics lead nurse, said: “E-Obs has had a big impact on patient care, because the system picks up on any changes in the patient’s condition and alerts staff to anything unusual. Medical emergencies for patients within the Trust have dropped as a result.”
Other benefits include a reduction in the average length of stay, during March 2017. All adult general inpatient areas use Patientrack. The Essex Cardiothoracic Centre and paediatric departments will be the next areas to adopt the system, followed by the emergency department.
Sam added: “I think the key to the success of e-Obs was having clinical staff teach their peers, in their clinical areas. We included ward managers, ward clerks, healthcare assistants, nurses and doctors and they immediately saw how the system directly benefits patients.”
Samantha Priest, healthcare assistant on Florence Nightingale ward, said: “I wasn’t sure of e-Obs when it was first mentioned, purely because it felt like another thing we’d have to do. However it has made a real difference to the way I work. I actually have more time to help patients with their personal care, which makes them feel more cared for.”
Dr Aroon Lal, lead consultant for the deteriorating patient project, added: “It helps immensely with doctors’ ward rounds, as sick patients are more readily identified and they can be assessed in order of priority.”
Developments are continuing on the system, to make the wards as paper-light as possible. Future plans include email alerts to specialist nursing teams, alerts to the internal bleep system to escalate problems more quickly and live reporting.