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Doctors and nurses at Ipswich Hospital are now able to monitor young patients more effectively following the introduction of an electronic system which automatic alerts staff if their condition deteriorates.
The hospital has become one of the first in the country to use an electronic tool called Nervecentre to record paediatric early warning scores (PEWS) on the Bergholt Ward, which looks after children.
Nurses will use the software, which has been loaded to iPods, at the patient’s bedside to record observations such as their pulse, temperature, blood pressure and respiratory rate. The system then generates a score and will send an automatic alert to a doctor and senior nurse if that score is high so that the patient can be promptly reviewed.
Before the system was introduced, observations were recorded on paper with the nurse then calculating a score manually and calling for a doctor where appropriate.
The new system, which is already in place for adult patients at Ipswich Hospital, will reduce the chance of errors being made while also making sure there are no delays if extra help is needed.
Sarah Smith, children’s matron at the hospital, said: “We are delighted that this fantastic system is now in place on the Bergholt Ward. Not only is it quicker and more efficient for our doctors and nurses, but will also further improve safety by sending an automatic alert if a patient’s condition worsens so that we can take action as quickly as possible.
“The data recorded by Nervecentre will be uploaded automatically onto our hospital IT system when the patient is discharged, which means it will be immediately available if they are readmitted for any reason. Previously, paper charts had to be scanned onto a computer following discharge, which meant they could be a delay in reviewing the information if the patient came back to hospital.
“The Nervecentre system has been well received since it has been in use across our adult inpatient beds, and has helped free up clinician time while improving the way patients are monitored. We look forward to replicating that success on the children’s ward.”