East Kent Hospitals pilots Bluetooth patient tracking

East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust has launched a pilot of a Bluetooth patient flow solution, from technology company MYSPHERA.

The company’s first installation of the technology in the UK is providing the trust with a patient tracking system, to locate patients at any moment on the trust’s surgical wards and automatically notify staff about important events such as when a patient or operating theatre is ready for surgery.

It means clinical staff and managers can see at a glance where each patient is in the surgical pathway to support coordination and delivery of care. It uses Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) gateways to receive information from small tags that are incorporated into the patient’s hospital wristband. The tags generate real-time data across the surgical journey, with data feeding into other apps used by each surgical team.

Alexis Warman, Service Development Lead, East Kent Hospitals University NHS FT commented on the solution: “Whilst we can track and monitor patients across the hospital thus improving timeliness and communication, one of the other core benefits of this system is that the data will be indisputably accurate, will be in real-time, and will have been created automatically. This reduces the reliance and resource pressure on the staff to input the information manually and provides us with a wholly precise recording of every stage of the patient’s theatre journey.

“As a result, the data is powerful and can quickly highlight areas of focus and drive change. This pilot will allow us to investigate and measure all of the changes and benefits of having such a system in place and enable us to predict the scale of the benefits if this system were to be implemented across all theatres.”

The system is being implemented with the support of Beautiful Information, Scott Parker, Managing Director, commented: “The solution will complement Beautiful Information’s real-time solutions already embedded at the trust, providing valuable data to feed into its operational dashboards and patient tracking lists. This will give better visibility of theatre activity, helping to improve efficiency and patient care.”

The technology is widely used across Europe, with 50 installations at hospitals including Vall D’Hebron in Spain where it is helping to control patient flow. The hospital reported improved surgery performance in its general surgery site, with over 2 million Euros in time savings in the first year.