London NHS trust launches app to help treat patients at risk of deterioration and sepsis

Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust have gone live on an e-Observations application called ThinkVitals that they helped to develop for use in the wider NHS with their technology partner ThinkShield. The application’s primary purpose is to help improve patient care by digitizing processes that were previously paper-based.   This mobile application allows staff to determine and respond faster to patients by determining their conditions using a combination of vital signs observations in conjunction with a National Early Warning Scoring system known also as NEWS. This National system helps early detection of time-sensitive care scenarios like sepsis or unexpected cardiac arrest.   ThinkVitals has been designed to minimize change while seeking to improve productivity by enabling the delivery of services in a more economical and efficient way, improving the patient’s experience and clinical outcome.   NHS staff and organizations can make a significant impact on the safety of patients by identifying the clinically deteriorating patient and acting early. The critical areas for action:

  • Improving the recognition of patients who are at risk, or who have clinically deteriorated
  • Appropriate monitoring of vital signs
  • Accurate interpretation of clinical findings
  • Calling for help early enough and ensuring that help is forthcoming;
  • Training and skills development
  • Ensuring that appropriate equipment and drugs are available.

The application, device, and platform agnostic, are accessed via the hospital’s wireless infrastructure providing a secure mechanism for accurate recording of patient vital signs and also ensuring that no data is stored on any device. The application records a patient’s vital signs, such as heart rate and blood pressure, and provides alert protocols that can be configured by the hospital advising staff on what action should be taken depending on the calculated NEWS. As well the application as provides protocols for Sepsis and Frailty or Patients who may be determined to be of higher risk. These help to provide faster response to patients, improving care which can also help to significantly reduce morbidity and costs for the NHS.   The application was designed with significant input from clinicians, ensures a minimal change to current processes, digitises standard charts and forms while removing the need for manual calculations, and ensures accurate and timely bedside recording of patient information.

The complex nature of healthcare means there are challenges in implementing new technologies in hospitals, but talking to the nurses and doctors using the technology, has allowed clinical engagement to happen quickly and effectively.

Dr Gary Davies – Clinical Director for Acute Medicine at Chelsea Westminster NHS Foundation Trust

By listening to clinicians and adapting an intuitive, user-friendly system to meet their needs, we now have a tool that can deliver significant improvements to patient care, and reduce mortality rates associated with sepsis. And by capturing data electronically, the hospital can help reduce errors and achieve its paperless ambitions.

Tim Taylor – Managing Director ThinkShield

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has challenged the NHS to go paperless by 2018. The trust is now saving administration time by removing the time-consuming process of recording clinical observations on paper.   ThinkVitals are now working in association with Chelsea and Westminster to deliver another application to benefit the community by linking primary and secondary care in the local area.

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