NHS hospitals using Patientrack electronic observations technology are now drawing on the system to help them to comply with a new national early warning score known as NEWS2. Central NHS bodies, which have mandated adoption, believe NEWS2 will help to improve the identification and management of sepsis and other serious conditions.
Patientrack, which has been used by NHS trusts for many years to better detect patient deterioration, as well as deadly conditions like sepsis and acute kidney injury, has already helped hospitals to improve patient safety by ensuring better adherence to early warning and escalation procedures. This has allowed staff to intervene early, with hospitals recording reductions in adverse events including cardiac arrests. NHS Fife, for example, reported a two thirds reduction in cardiac arrests in one of its busiest hospital areas only months after implementing Patientrack.
The company behind the technology is now working with NHS hospitals to accelerate the adoption of NEWS2, an updated national early warning score launched by NHS Improvement, NHS England and the Royal College of Physicians in late 2017 to replace local approaches to early warning protocols.
Acute hospital and ambulance trusts across England have now been tasked by NHS England with fully adopting NEWS2 for adult patients by March 2019, in a move intended to help hospitals to do more to spot the signs of patient deterioration earlier.
The three organisations issued a new Patient Safety Alert in April 2018, detailing how NEWS2 could help with better identification of patients likely to have sepsis, with improved scoring for patients with hypercapnic respiratory failure, and in recognising the importance of new-onset confusion or delirium.
By June 2018, trusts are expected to identify actions required to ensure they comply with trust-wide adoption of NEWS2 by the 2019 deadline.
Donald Kennedy, managing director at Patientrack said: “We have started important work with our NHS customers to ensure the swift adoption of NEWS2 in their organisations. Technology has shown to be a powerful way to make it easier for healthcare professionals to consistently use early warning scores in order to identify at risk patients, and to trigger necessary interventions.
“As we continue to work with hospitals where Patientrack is already implemented, to help make their NEWS2 transition easy, we would welcome the opportunity to work with many more hospitals across the country. NEWS2 is certainly about more than activating a piece of software, and requires user acceptance to be fully adopted. But digital technology has been proven to enhance the adoption, accuracy and effectiveness of early warning scores. This is also very much about sharing best practice, and we look forward to showing how hospitals using Patientrack are making progress.”