Over the past six months, the Electronic Patient Record (EPR) Optimisation team at University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay (UHMB) have been working on a pilot that delivers electronic versions of electrocardiograph images (ECG’s or Heart Trace Images) and makes them available to view within the EPR.
The pilot, which took place in May 2017, looked at initially upgrading the four existing ECG carts that are currently used within the Royal Lancaster Infirmary’s (RLI) Emergency Department (ED) and an ECG cart that is used within Furness General Hospital ED Department. In addition to the upgrade the EPR Optimisation team provided technical training to ED staff.
The intention is that this functionality will then be rolled out across the entire Trust so that all ECG results will be available within the EPR. Due to the success of the pilot the first phase of work will be rolled out over the next few months.
Dougie Butterworth, I3 Project Manager within the EPR Optimisation Team, UHMBT, said: “The transfer process is very simple with the user merely having to click ‘transfer’ after printing the ECG and the result will be sent directly to the result section of the patients EPR.”
The pilot also looked at the addition of a barcode scanner attached to the five ECG carts, which will make it easier for ED staff to identify the patient by allowing them to scan the barcode on the patients wristband to help ensure that the correct ECG image is assigned to the correct patient.
Where a barcode is not available, the ED user can key in the patients unique hospital number into the ECG machine which in turn will then pull the correct patient demographics from the EPR. This will help ensure that the user can positively identify they have the correct patient before performing the ECG.
Melanie Waszkiel, EPR Clinical Lead within the EPR Optimisation Team, UHMBT, said: “A comprehensive electronic patient record (EPR) should include the results from standalone equipment such as ECG’s and by removing the paper ECG output, we are helping to eliminate current inefficiencies by integrating these results into the EPR.”
“This pilot starts to deliver for ED and other clinical users the UHMBT longer term strategy of a more integrated view of clinical results and images in real time.”
Luca Pensabene, Associate Specialist Doctor at RLI ED Department said: “Thank you Melanie and the team for your outstanding job.”
Dr Adrian Brodison, Clinical Lead for Cardiology, UHMBT, said: “The digital storage of ECGs in this Trust has long been awaited and whilst the ECGs done by clinical investigation unit staff have been uploaded to EPR for some time, those done by other staff have not. Unfortunately these ECGs are often the most important to help manage the patient’s condition long term especially when managing heart rhythm abnormalities. The current process contributes too many incidents of delayed or suboptimal patient management.”