Patient care transforming thanks to innovative technology
17th October 2018
Over the past 18 months, University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust (UHMBT) has seen a range of improvements thanks to its increasingly developed Lorenzo Electronic Patient Record (EPR) system.
The EPR is now a golden thread through the way the Trust’s hospitals are run and is being used by staff as soon as a patient enters the hospital via the Emergency Department or Outpatient clinic until they are discharged home. The EPR has revolutionised the way staff work and now means that they can access up-to-date patient information instantly, from anywhere in any of the Trust’s three main hospitals, wherever the patient is.
By reducing the amount of forms and paper needed, the EPR has also saved the Trust a staggering £196,000.
The EPR has seen some staggering results so far through projects which have taken place to improve patient care, including:
- 95% of electronic discharge summaries are now completed within 24 hours so the patient’s GP receives important information on the care they received in hospital at a much earlier stage
- 4,000 different drugs are being prescribed electronically across the Trust reducing the old paper processes. Around 14,000 drugs are being prescribed electronically per day across all of the Trust’s 59 different inpatient areas
- Midwives working in the community can now access the latest information relating to a woman’s care remotely through laptops. Midwives are saving travel time as they no longer have to come back to base to enter hand written notes into the electronic system
- A staggering 22,630 meals have been ordered on a 31 bedded ward as part of a 12 month eMeals trial. Staff can now order inpatient meals using tablet computers on the same day rather than having to fill in a paper form and taking it to catering staff a day in advance. It saves time for staff and also means that meals can follow the patient if they are transferred to another ward or cancelled if they are discharged home - reducing waste
- Thanks to a series of dashboards, theatre staff across all three main hospitals can view the progress of a theatre session, manage patient lists, allocate teams for specific procedures and identify potential delays in schedules. This gives staff a single platform to carry out theatre check-in, manage anaesthesia and operation details, patient information in recovery and handover to the wards
- Nursing staff are now carrying out four hourly ‘comfort rounds’ every day using iPods, which enable them to spend more time at a patient’s bedside
- The Emergency Departments (ED) at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary and Furness General Hospital have taken a large stride towards being reducing use of paperwork and using electronic charts instead so they are spending less time on paperwork. Electronic whiteboards are now being used which allows staff to access and record a patients location and movements within the hospital
Aaron Cummins, Chief Executive, UHMBT, said: “The work that has been ongoing across the Bay to use technology differently has really transformed the way staff work in hospital and out in the community for the better. It has also led to important improvements in patient safety and experience.
“One of the main challenges in Morecambe Bay is sharing information across three main hospitals across an area of 1,000 square miles. By using technology, it can really help us deliver better patient services and reduce the time spent by staff on paperwork. I think it’s really important that it is clinicians who are leading this work, as ultimately this is a tool for clinicians to use. We want it to make their working lives easier and in doing so give them more opportunities to deliver care in more effective ways for our patients.”
The EPR is also having an impact for GPs with over 250 GP records accessed electronically every day, and 100,000 letters and documents sent electronically to GPs in 2017.
Dr William Lumb, a GP in Sedbergh and Chief Clinical Information Officer for Bay Health and Care Partners, said: “This progress is wonderful to see and will directly improve patient care which is what we are all about. Having a digitally mature hospital is an essential component of our bay wide approach where we meld electronic record sharing, navigation and patient facing apps into a single integrated solution of which we are justifiably proud. Real patients are benefiting on a daily basis-so digital health does matter in Morecambe Bay.”
To find out more about the EPR journey at UHMBT, watch this short video: