News, NHS trust

Barts Health introduces tech to help detect deterioration

At Barts Health NHS Trust, tech is being used in the hopes of identifying deteriorating patients more quickly, following an injection of £4.4 million in funding from Barts Charity.

The technology works by integrating vital signs data and data from medical equipment such as ventilators and anaesthetic machines, with patients’ electronic records, offering “almost real-time” patient data for staff, and “removing the need for manual data input”.

The funding has helped to transfer the medical records of patients in intensive care and those having operations from paper to digital, meaning “teams are alerted to any life-changing deterioration faster”, and potentially freeing up time for staff in other areas.

Dr Dan Kelley, intensive care consultant and deputy CCIO, said that the trust’s early work has shown that “clinical data improves care and enables nurses to spend more time with their patients, providing crucial care”, continuing: “We are excited that, with new funding, we can bring this to the most critically ill patients at Barts Health. The data we capture will enable clinical staff to monitor and respond to patients when they most need it, faster than before, improving how care is given and delivered. We are so grateful to the charity for this support.”

To date, the tech has been rolled-out across all of the trust’s ICUs and operating theatres following its initial introduction on general wards at St Bartholomew’s Hospital in 2019, leading to a “20-fold increase in patient escalation forms completed”, and “a 25-fold increase in patients being screened for sepsis”, potentially meaning that patients can be taken to intensive care and treated more quickly.

In other news from Barts Health, the trust has shared the results of a teledermatology pilot which has led to around 94 percent of people with suspected skin cancer being seen within two weeks at Whipps Cross Hospital, an increase from an average of 62 percent in 2022.

And in related news, the UK government has announced the launch or expansion of projects stemming from the Adult Social Care Technology Fund, including the use of 4D imaging to detect falls; medication monitoring to support patient safety; and pain assessment tools and “robotic pets” to support communication challenges and independent living.