News, Secondary Care

West Midlands maternity triage system goes digital for UK-wide use

A digital maternity triage system, developed in the West Midlands, has launched an online training programme and is now available to maternity teams across the UK.

The Birmingham Symptom-specific Obstetric Triage System (BSOTS) was created to provide a ‘standardised method of safely and efficiently assessing women’, particularly those who are having unexpected problems.

Healthcare professionals such as midwives, obstetricians and doctors can now access the digital training materials and resources for free through the Meridian Health Innovation Exchange. This will enable trusts from across the nation to implement the programme.

Developed by clinicians and researchers, as part of a collaboration between Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust and the University of Birmingham, it’s supported by the West Midlands Academic Health Science Network (WMAHSN) and MidTECH Innovation.

The system itself allocates colour coding to patients to allow staff to prioritise need, as well as providing a ‘brief standardised assessment’, to give clear guidance on clinical urgency.

Early evaluations at Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust showed that the system could increase the number of patients seen within 15 minutes of attendance.

BSOTS has, at the time of writing, been adopted by 34 maternity units across the UK, with 20 additional units currently in the implementation process, and 17 more awaiting training. A hospital in Australia are also the first international organisation to use the system.

Helen Hunt, Patient Safety Assistant Programme Manager at WMAHSN, said: “We are so proud to be launching BSOTS on the Meridian Health Innovation Exchange. Streamlining the care of expecting mums is vital and taking the programme online will allow more NHS Trusts and maternity departments across the UK to take a step forward and help ensure that this happens nationwide. We’re so excited to see the roll out.”

Sara Kenyon, Professor of Evidence Based Maternity Care at the University of Birmingham, added: “Previously, BSOTS training has been done either face-to-face or over Zoom, meaning that training and materials haven’t been as accessible to maternity teams as we would have liked.

“However, the new electronic sign-up process makes it easier for maternity sites across the country to access the resources necessary to put BSOTS into practice and improve the way maternity triage work is managed.”

According to Dr Nina Johns, Consultant Obstetrician at The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust and co-creator of BSOTS, as well as improving quality of care, the programme also “allows for better communication and creates a less stressful triage environment for staff”.

To sign up or find out more, visit the Meridian Health Innovation Exchange.