Hi-tech electronic monitoring puts patients first
The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has become the first specialist orthopaedic hospital in the country to install the VitalPAC system – using funding from the Safer Hospitals, Safer Wards Technology Fund. It is being used from the patient’s admission to hospital and throughout their stay, replacing the paper observations chart at the end of each bed.
Rather than making a written note of information such as pulse, blood pressure and breathing rate, staff are now entering the data directly onto an iPod touch. VitalPAC then automatically produces an observation chart and calculates an early warning score – a key indicator of whether a patient’s condition is deteriorating.
Nicki Bellinger, the hospital’s deputy director of nursing, said: “Recording vital signs data regularly and accurately is central to providing safe, high-quality care. By making the process easier, VitalPAC is another way in which we are helping our staff give patients the best care possible.”
Up until now, nursing staff have used a paper form to document patient observations such as blood pressure, heart rate and blood oxygen level. They then manually calculate the patient’s early warning score.
Deb Povall, ward manager, said: “Having VitalPAC makes it quicker and easier to take and record observations and to spot patients who might need extra attention.”
Faster detection of deteriorating patients using this system has already led to big improvements in other hospitals – with one key example being a reduction in the length of time patients stay in hospital. This is known to aid better and faster recovery.
CAPTION: Karin Evans (critical care outreach nurse), Deb Povall (ward manager), Yvonne Poole (staff nurse) and Louis McDonald (VitalPAC project manager), with the new iPod Touch device