Doctors and nurses at the DGH will soon be swapping traditional bedside paper patient charts for state-of-the-art handheld digital devices.
East Sussex NHS Healthcare Trust, which also runs the DGH’s sister site in nearby Hastings, was given two bumper grants to fund the switch-over.
The first, an £821,000 cash injection, was from the Safer Hospitals, Safer Wards Technology Fund, while a further £186,000 was given to the trust by the Nursing Technology Fund.
The scheme could be completely rolled out across both hospitals as early as October this year – with the first batch of the VitalPAC systems hitting the wards this month.
VitalPAC monitors and analyses patients’ vital signs and enables staff to automatically summon appropriate help if a patient deteriorates.
Alice Webster, director of nursing at the trust, said, “Implementing this new system will improve patient safety and patient outcomes as it will identify deteriorating patients earlier and allow for quicker clinical intervention. This is particularly true in enabling specialist teams such as critical care outreach, infection control and pain services, to use this as a surveillance system to identify and intervene proactively.”
“Staff are excited about using this new technology. We will be able to observe patients’ vitals 40 per cent quicker than we do at the moment. We will be able to manage our patients more efficiently, with fewer patients going into intensive care and fewer cardiac arrests.
“More importantly we will be able to make reductions in mortality rates and improve our patient outcomes.”
VitalPAC enables nurses to record seven routine observations, such as temperature, pulse and blood pressure, and removes the requirement for a paper chart. The system’s software analyses the patient’s readings using a set of algorithms and doctors and other senior staff receive an urgent alert if they dip below a safe level.
“It is hoped the system will also reduce length of stay by avoiding the complications which can arise in patients at risk of deterioration.”