Secondary Care

Digital midwife develops innovative new maternity emergency system

A midwife at Somerset NHS Foundation Trust is developing a new allocation system for use in the event of an emergency on its maternity unit.

The digital midwife, Caroline Lacy, is building the system – known as an ‘Emergency Role Allocation (ERA) System’ – to help clinicians declare emergencies and allocate roles to the responding team, before reaching the patient’s bedside.

Taking inspiration from the way the trust’s emergency department responds to incoming trauma patients, Caroline has been developing a new interactive system to help coordinate teams quickly, when needed.

The idea is being supported by NHS England and Improvement’s clinical entrepreneur programme, a workforce development programme for clinical and non-clinical NHS colleagues, run by NHS England and Improvement’s ‘Innovation, Research and Life Sciences group’.

The system helps to update clinicians before they arrive, and so they understand prior the situation they are attending, what their role is, the equipment and response needed to safely manage the event, and what has already been put in place to support the patient.

Caroline Lacy, commented: “There are many benefits for using this system besides improving the patient experience and outcomes. Our maternity unit is supported by obstetric, anaesthesiology and theatre colleagues, who each cover a wide footprint across the hospital. Before they reach the patient’s bedside, ERA Systems will give them an immediate overview of the emergency – and what is required from them.”

“We are currently running simulations of every type of emergency, as we want all of our maternity colleagues to have had the chance to help build the system, so that it works for them. This is a really exciting new system and we are looking forward to introducing it fully in the coming months on our maternity unit.”

As for other recent news in this area, in March the Royal College of Midwives called for a Digital Midwife in every maternity service and NHSX launched a recruitment drive to appoint a national digital midwife.

The RCM has also recently published supportive electronic record keeping guidance, setting out a ‘best practice summary’ and ‘record keeping governance’.