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UHMBT patients to benefit from improved electronic care plans

ward 6 electronic patient records[P]atients and staff at University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust (UHMBT) are to benefit from new technology at the bedside, thanks to the Trust’s plans to roll out electronic patient care plans.

Throughout the summer this year, more than 40 wards across the Trust are expected to go live with electronic patient care plans. This includes special laptops on wheels, interactive whiteboards and iPods being used on the ward to assess and plan a patient’s care, view the ward list, keep the patient whiteboard up to date, record the intentional comfort rounds, and edit the patient’s nutritional needs.

Sue Smith, Executive Chief Nurse, UHMBT, said: “This project is a really exciting step forward for the Trust. It will not only will have great benefits for staff including allowing them to update a patient’s record at the bedside immediately after discussing it with the patient, rather than having to go and update their physical records, it will also help reduce any issues of illegibility and problems locating notes.”

Other benefits of using electronic patient care plans include;

  • Reduce duplicating information including name, date of birth and pre-existing health conditions, releasing more time for direct patient care
  • Providing staff with a larger, more accessible base of clinical information for each patient as all the relevant information needed to make decision about their care will be at their fingertips immediately
  • Recording the information at the bedside means that patients can be more involved in discussions and decisions about their care as they happen
  • Nursing interventions can be tracked in ‘real time’ so any changes or additions to care plans that are needed can be identified quickly
  • Ensuring there is a standardised set of documentation used across the Trust with all wards using the same technology.
  • Linking the technology with other software that can suggest best practice according to national guidelines such as the National Institute for Health and Care Excellent (NICE).
  • Improved legibility /accessibility of records at the point of care which will lead to less delays for patients as staff will no longer need to access information from a number of different records or systems.
  • Reduction in the time Ward Clerks spend making up paper packs, chasing paperwork, photocopying and filing. This will allow Ward Clerks to better support the ward and the patients.

The project has been led by a team made up of nurses, doctors, and the Trust’s Informatics, Information and Innovation Team.

Tracy Carling, Clinical Content Project Manager, UHMBT, said: “In addition to the nurses using the technology on the wards, our physiotherapists; dietitians, occupational therapists, speech and language therapists, orthoptists, and other health care professionals will also record their inpatient clinical care digitally at the bedside. This will mean that all the information healthcare professionals need to make clinical decisions about patients will be in one place.”

Sue Smith, concluded: “We believe that using electronic patient care plans will not only ensure our staff have the appropriate information about a patient where and when they need it, it will also improve the experience patients receive whilst being cared for in our hospitals.  It also supports and complements the Better Care Together initiative and the NHS Five Year Plan which both indicate how health professionals can use technology to benefit patients and staff.”

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