From this month onwards, Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals (DBTH) will begin introducing electronic patient observations at Doncaster Royal Infirmary.
Known as eObservations, this innovative system, supported by a service called NerveCentre, allows health professionals to record patient observations digitally and, in doing so, avoid the lengthy and repetitious filling out and inputting of clinical paper-based forms.
One of the most important tasks within any hospital, ‘clinical observations’ is the term used to describe the multitude of tests and exercises which are used to monitor the health of a patient. From temperature checks to heart rate monitoring, these observations help doctors and nurses understand the condition of their patients, guiding treatment if anything changes.
Undertaken at regular intervals depending on the patient’s severity, these observations are written down within official documentation via pen and paper, and clinicians are trained to work out what any respective increase or decrease means. This way of working has been in place for many years, and while conditions become ever more complex and medical knowledge expands, the use of paper forms for documentation has remained broadly the same.
To help enhance hospital care, as well as help to adjust to new ways of working during the Covid-19 pandemic, ‘eObservations’ have now started to be implemented across the Doncaster site. Using a handheld device, health professionals are able to record patient observations using a secure app, which then calculates whether these results fall within the ‘normal’ range for the patient, alerting a senior nurse or doctor if urgent attention is required.
Dr Mike Whiteside, Physician and Chief Clinical Information Officer, said: “This is an incredibly exciting change for the Trust. By using eObservations we will reduce the amount of paperwork we incur daily, while substantially improving patient safety and communication with colleagues should they need urgent attention.
“Making use of technology to improve patient care is incredibly important and even more so at present, as we constantly adjust to new healthcare challenges due to the coronavirus pandemic. This system will help us to continue to improve patient care, and ultimately aiding us in our vision to be the safest Trust in England, Outstanding in all that we do.”
eObservations, provided by Nervecentre, was introduced to Bassetlaw Hospital in October 2019 and has already proved to be invaluable. Observations are logged centrally on the system, with an accompanying patient record and related notes and alerts visible to trained users. The system will also work out the frequency of required observations, helping clinicians to make the most of their time. The system at DRI will go-live initially in the respiratory wards before being rolled out across the majority of inpatient areas.
Dr Whiteside continues: “While we implement this latest system we also want to highlight to patients that while clinicians are using mobile devices, they are not checking Facebook or messaging their friends, they are in fact undertaking essential work. If our patients have any questions at all about the system, we encourage them to speak with colleagues who will be more than happy to explain eObservations and its use.”
The launch of eObservations and Hospital@ forms part of DBTH’s ‘Digital Transformation’ programme, a scheme of work which is looking at making the most of new technologies to improve patient care, safety, experience and treatment.