Hospitals launching new way of recording patient observations

Patients observations in Lincolnshire’s hospitals are stepping into the 21st Century with the introduction of a new electronic system.

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Patients observations in Lincolnshire’s hospitals are stepping into the 21st Century with the introduction of a new electronic system.

The electronic observation (e-obs) system is revolutionising the way patient observations- such as temperature, blood pressure and heart rate- are taken, recorded and used.

For the first time, staff across United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust are able to record patient observations electronically, which are then fed into a central system so that they are always updated and available for the care professionals looking after the patient.

This brings huge benefits to patients, both in terms of availability and accuracy of their information, and freeing up time for staff to meet their care needs.

The e-obs system has been piloted on a number of wards at Lincoln County Hospital and is now steadily being rolled out on wards across Pilgrim Hospital in Boston. It is anticipated it will be in use across ULHT hospitals by the end of next year.

Business Change Manager Clare Pearson said: “Previously patient observations were taken at the bedside and recorded on paper charts, scores were manually added up to see what level of observation the patient required, and then the paperwork stored in patient files. Key information about the patient was then put up on the ward whiteboard. All of this being done manually introduces a chance of errors being made- either in the recording, in the adding up of the early warning scores or the transfer to the board.

“The new system is much better. Patient observation data is input by the ward staff at the bedside using iPods and iPads. That is then automatically stored electronically, and any key information automatically updated on an interactive whiteboard in each area. These whiteboards contain much more information than before, and that means that staff have a better source of information about their  patients at any given time.

“There are huge benefits to this new system. It can alert staff when checks need to be made to ensure they are done on time, it speeds up the taking of observations which frees up staff time for direct patient care and also will result in speedier discharges as there is less paperwork to deal with.”

Johnson Ward at Lincoln County Hospital have trialled the new system, and Deputy Ward Sister Julie Rodgers said: “Being the first ward to trial and use this system has been both challenging and rewarding.

“From a nursing perspective, it has cut down on the mountain of paperwork, ensuring patients’ observations are reviewed in a timely manner and ensures their safety. Doctors don’t need to chase for the observation charts as now they can access them via the tablet or computer as well as the electronic ward board.”