Secondary Care

Ascom rolls out smartphones for 300+ doctors at Royal Bolton Hospital

Ascom is deploying hundreds of its smartphones in a major project to enable on-call doctors at the Royal Bolton Hospital to better care for seriously ill patients at night and over weekends with an aim to eventually replace traditional doctors’ bleepers entirely.

Initially, 30 handheld Myco smart devices are being used by on-call doctors and night nurse practitioners to triage emergencies across the hospital’s medical, surgical and orthopedics wards. The ‘hospital at night’ is the first phase of a rollout of 303 Ascom smartphones, part of an electronic observations project that will deliver time-critical alerts to clinical teams across Bolton NHS Foundation Trust.

The trust’s chief clinical information officer Dr Simon Irving hailed it as a ‘really exciting’ move. “It will enable doctors and nurses to deal more quickly with patients whose condition is at risk of deterioration, while releasing more time to spend caring for them.”

The Ascom technology will be fully integrated with Patientrack, an electronic observations system that will send alerts and crucial clinical information to the Myco devices when patients are showing signs of deterioration. A system of different sounds and ‘traffic lights’ according to the severity of the case will enable doctors to acknowledge and triage cases.

Dr Irving, a consultant in acute medicine said: “My ambition is that the Myco devices will completely replace bleeps, which are no longer suitable for a modern NHS. Unlike a bleep, the Myco enables clinicians to call each other, message securely, and interact with escalations from Patientrack. The devices will also have apps containing trust clinical guidelines and an evidence-based medicines portal, to ensure consistent, safe care.

“The devices will save doctors, critical care nurses and charge nurses a great deal of time that they currently spend trying to reach each other on the phone to assess cases. A full audit trail from the devices will also enable us to track peaks of activity and better utilise our workforce, as well as measuring performance.”

“Ascom have been very open to working with other suppliers. This deployment is part of a unified communications system in Bolton including a shared care record with community staff, virtual desktops from Citrix, and an Allscripts EPR that is due to go live next Spring.”