The innovative and imaginative use of technology to improve patient care by University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay Trust (UHMBT) has been featured by the Chief Medical Officer in her annual report as an example that healthcare providers should aspire to.
UHMBT uses a Lorenzo Electronic Patient Record system from the time that a patient enters the hospital until they are discharged back home.
Colin Brown, Chief Clinical Information Officer, UHMBT, said: “The pace and scale of digital change, led by our clinicians, nurses and IT team in recent years has been staggering.
“The Electronic Patient Record system is a fantastic tool to support the triage of our patients across many areas of our hospitals. It means that patients are treated more quickly and safely and it also reduces the number of patients waiting in our emergency departments.”
Other examples of staff using new IT for patient care include nurses carrying out ward rounds using iPods, and midwives using laptops to remotely access patient records when they are visiting women in the community.
Over 122,333 patient meals have been ordered at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary and Furness General Hospital via tablet computers thanks to an electronic eMeals system. The old paper processes could take ward staff up to an hour and a half to complete. This means that staffs on the wards have more time to spend on patient care and the system has reduced food wastage by 45%.
An innovative online system called STRATA has also helped to ease the movement of patients around the local healthcare system, for example the discharge of patients from UHMBT’s hospitals into community health and care services.
Community staff in South Cumbria and North Lancashire are also now delivering better integrated care thanks to the Emis web electronic record system which gives them the ability to book appointments for patients across different organisations.
The iPlato myGP app allows patients to book appointments with their GP practice and order prescriptions online.
An Advice and Guidance service enables GPs to access specialist advice from colleagues working in hospitals and enables patients to be seen more quickly and not have to travel to hospital for their care.
Staff using the Electronic Patient Record System access 250 GP records every day, and in 2017 100,000 letters and documents were sent electronically to GPs.
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.”
Colin Brown added: “Technology really is revolutionising the way staff are working, strengthening partnerships between health and care organisations and giving patients a better experience of local healthcare.”