New system launches to improve patient movement through hospital and reduce delays 

05/12/2017 00:00 
On 5 December three locations at University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (UCLH) will take a big step forward in managing how we provide care to our patients at each stage of their treatment in hospital.

This is so that it is calmer, more efficient and delays are reduced. A new system gives real time information on patients’ care progression and discharge planning status.  It speeds up the preparation of beds for incoming patients and reduces the waiting time for porters.  A Coordination Centre will be electronically collecting information from the wards. Staff will be able to see across the hospital which beds are available and the status of patients in preparation for going home.

Charles House, Medical Director at UCLH, says: “This is really exciting news for UCLH, using electronic whiteboards on our wards and real-time tracking technology to improve inpatient flow, reducing delays to treatment and making the discharge process much slicker. Central coordination of admissions and transfers, with automation of key processes, such as alerts for bed cleaning and portering, will help make sure the right bed is available at the right time for our patients.”

This system works by giving patients a wristband to wear, alongside the usual patient identification band. Patients admitted to University College Hospital and the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery and women who are having a baby at the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Wing will be asked to wear the new wristband. The wristband will not be attached to newborn babies.

The new wristband has a small badge that is linked to our new Coordination Centre. This centre helps us know where patients are in our hospitals, reducing delays and creating a calmer hospital experience.

By wearing the wristband you are helping us to:

  • see immediately when a bed is empty and needs cleaning following a patient’s discharge from hospital
  • monitor in real time where our patients are in their stage of treatment within Theatres and other procedure areas (from May 2018)

Most importantly, when a patient is discharged, the wristband is removed and dropped into a special box. That action automatically sends a message to the cleaning team notifying them that the bed can be cleaned and prepared for another patient. The system is not checking a patient’s general movement around the hospital and the wristband contains no personal information about a patient or their condition.

“Speedier admission to the wards will benefit patients attending the emergency department, or after planned surgery in theatres at University College Hospital and the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery at Queen Square. We understand how frustrating a slow discharge can be when a patient is ready to go home – our Coordination Centre will improve the experience of our patients and free up time for our staff to deliver excellent clinical care,”  says Charles House.

The Coordination Centre system is possible due to advanced software technology. The system has already been introduced in NHS trusts in Chester and Wolverhampton with notable improvements, including a faster turnover of bed availability, a reduction in emergency department delays due to lack of beds, and shorter stays in hospital for medical patients.

The system is provided by TeleTracking, a long established company who are leaders and award winners in patient flow technology.  Hospital staff have received detailed training and support in using the system and will be able to securely access the system via PCs, whiteboards, computers on wheels and tablets around the hospital to manage patient treatment stages, contact porters and locate medical equipment.

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