One of the most important tasks within any hospital, ‘clinical observations’ is the term used to describe the multitude of tests and exercises which are used to monitor the health of a patient. From temperature checks to heart rate monitoring, these observations help doctors and nurses understand the condition of their patients, guiding treatment if anything changes.
Undertaken at regular intervals dependent on the patient’s severity, these observations are written down within official documentation via pen and paper, and clinicians are trained to work out what any respective increase or decrease means. This way of working has been in place for a number of years, and while conditions become ever more complex and medical knowledge expands, supporting documentation has remained largely static.
To improve the Trust’s approach, in early September ‘eObservations’ will launch within all six adult wards at Bassetlaw Hospital. Using a mobile device (handheld phones), health professionals are able to record patient observations using a secure app, which then calculates whether these results fall within the ‘normal’ range for the patient, alerting a senior nurse or doctor if urgent attention is required.
Dr Mike Whiteside, Physician and Chief Clinical Information Officer, said: “This is an incredibly exciting change for the Trust. By using eObservations we will reduce the amount of paperwork we incur daily, while substantially improving patient safety and communication with colleagues should they need urgent attention.
“Ensuring we make best use of technology to improve patient care is incredibly important and will define our success as a Trust in the years to come, helping us to improve patient care, and ultimately aiding us in our vision to be the safest Trust in England, Outstanding in all that we do.”
eObservations, provided by Nervecentre, is an extension of Hospital@ introduced to the Trust in early 2019, and helps in the recording and distribution of tasks within wards and departments between health professionals. Observations are logged centrally on the system, with an accompanying patient record and related notes and alerts visible to trained users. The system will also work out the frequency of required observations, helping clinicians to make the most of their time.
The system will go-live initially in the six adult wards of Bassetlaw Hospital, as well as Endoscopy and Day Surgery. If everything goes to plan, a further deployment will commence in Doncaster Royal Infirmary and is scheduled for early November.
Dr Whiteside continues: “While we implement this latest system we also want to highlight to patients that while clinicians are using mobile devices, they are not checking Facebook or messaging their friends, they are in fact undertaking essential work. If our patients have any questions at all about the system, we encourage them to speak with colleagues who will be more than happy to explain eObservations and its use.”
The launch of eObservations and Hospital@ forms part of DBTH’s ‘Digital Transformation programme, a scheme of work which is looking at making the most of new technologies in order to improve patient care, safety, experience and treatment.