Secondary Care

Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust links vital signs monitors with EPR

Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust reports saving some 5,800 hours of nursing time since the introduction of vital signs monitoring devices from Welch Allyn, a subsidiary of global medical technology company Hill-Rom (NYSE: HRC).

Nursing staff are using the Welch Allyn® Connex® monitoring devices across hundreds of beds to capture important clinical observations for patients in their care. The new devices are designed to help eliminate the need for nurses to manually enter patient data, with the devices capturing physiological measurements at the bedside and automatically transferring crucial information directly to the Trust’s electronic patient record system.

Sets of clinical parameters captured are then used to generate a National Early Warning Score (NEWS) that tells hospital staff when a patient is at risk of deterioration. Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust reports that by using the new system, staff are saving time and are now alerted more quickly to patients requiring immediate intervention.

Named as a Global Digital Exemplar by NHS England in March 2017, the Trust has so far deployed the Welch Allyn® Connex® monitoring technology in 25 percent of its wards, with intentions to deploy the vital signs monitoring devices more widely, following early high-impact results around time savings.

Gerry Bolger, Chief Nursing Information Officer and clinical lead for nursing informatics at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, said: “This is a very exciting development for our hospitals. We have seen significant time-releasing benefits so far, and the next step is to roll out more of the connected bedside monitoring devices throughout our hospitals over the coming months. We also want to look at how the recorded observations, which are able to provide more accurate readings, will be able to assist doctors and nurses towards the early identification and treatment of patients at risk of sepsis.”

The new automated process can reduce the time required to take parameters by up to 50 percent with over one minute saved each time a set of observations is taken. This can quickly convert to significant time savings, and the Trust estimates that 5,800 hours of time have been released to direct care since the monitors were first introduced in January 2016.

Katie Pritchard, ward manager at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, added: “It has had a real impact on handovers. We can see our patients up on the screen, and staff can much more easily examine NEWS scores. This means there is no miscommunication; it is quickly clear when patients need interventions.”

The Trust worked in collaboration with Welch Allyn to safely and reliably connect the monitoring devices to the Trust’s Cerner electronic patient record system. Devices have now been installed in 14 clinical areas, supporting 243 beds across the Trust’s hospitals, whilst reducing the need to manually input two million pieces of data. The Trust has captured more than 90,000 sets of NEWS, providing a profile of risk of deterioration of patients.