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North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust on track to save quarter of a million pounds through e-Observations

InterSystems TrakCare® electronic observations, saves nurses nearly 10 weeks of time each year, and will help significantly reduce the risk of serious conditions in hospital wards

 Eton, 7 October 2020.  By automating the process of collecting patient observations and delivering them to nurses and clinicians via InterSystems TrakCare®, North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust is now on track to:

  • cut the time it takes clinicians to make observations by up to 57%, saving nurses an average of almost 10 weeks of time a year
  • reduce costs associated with patient records by up to £225,000 a year
  • significantly improve patient safety by making all relevant medical records available through a single point of truth.

Switching from paper-based to electronic patient records and observations has also helped the foundation trust cut its annual carbon footprint by over four tonnes per year.

As the trust accelerates its digital maturity as a Global Digital Exemplar ”Fast Follower” it aims to improve the efficiency of acute nursing care in response to increasing demand on services. One of the key challenges in the clinical process was the manual recording of patient observations and sharing of them with the clinical staff for rapid decision making.

By implementing InterSystems TrakCare electronic patient observations this year, the trust has automated observations and made them accessible in one single point of view from wherever a clinician finds themselves in the hospital or care setting. This has helped significantly improve the speed and accuracy of decision making. What’s more, the system also automatically calculates early warning scores, the metric nurses and doctors use to assess whether a patient is deteriorating and which, when it passes a certain threshold, triggers emergency intervention.

“By integrating electronic observations into TrakCare, staff can now see at a glance which patients are not well through colour-coded icons on the system”, said Kelly Calvert, Digital Programme Clinical Change Lead/ Chief Nursing Information Officer (CNIO). “Doctors can prioritise who they need to see, and if a nurse needs to contact a doctor, they can have an informed conversation with the early warning score available from anywhere in the hospital. “Our next steps will be to introduce tools that will allow nurses to see when the next sets of observations are due for specific patients, and to bring in automatic escalation, where doctors and critical care outreach teams will be directly bleeped if a patient deteriorates.”

Prior to implementing TrakCare, the trust’s nurses would manually record patients’ vital signs on paper charts before manually calculating the early warning score to see if a patient requires further help.  Now nurses use the trust’s Welch Allyn Connex® Spot Monitor to capture vital signs, which are then directly sent from the device into TrakCare. North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust is in fact the first trust in the UK to fully integrate TrakCare with Welch Allyn devices.

“The process was painless, and I am loving eObs” said ward matron Hazel Jones. “The machines work faster, and it makes handover of patients much quicker, safer and improves the quality of information at a glance. A big thank you to the Digital Programme team and all the staff on Ward 32.”

TrakCare then calculates either the National Early Warning Score, NEWS2, or the trust’s paediatric early warning score, PEWS. If either score indicates a deterioration, Trak triggers an alert to advise clinical staff what actions need to be taken in the escalation plan, for example “complete SEPSIS Tool and alert clinician immediately”.

Through the mobile TrakCare interface, clinicians can easily access the escalated patient’s information in real time from any device and make informed decisions on the required level of care, as well as electronically prescribe or order blood tests through TrakCare EPMA without needing to be at a patient’s bedside. Thanks to the improved response times, the nurses now expect to eliminate preventable cardiac incidents on ward, as well as reduce the risk of serious conditions such as sepsis using eObs to calculate fluid balances.

“This is an important innovation both for our ongoing advancements in digital maturity, and in our mission to deliver the safest care possible to patients” said Professor Graham Evans, the trust’s chief information and technology officer.


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