Kent hospital signs IT deal to reduce reliance on pagers

Bed in a modern clinic corridor

A hospital in the UK has signed a deal to implement an IT platform to improve patient safety and efficiency, and reduce reliance on outdated pagers.

Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust signed a deal with IT firm Alcidion, the parent company of health technology provider Patientrack.

The decision follows the announcement earlier this year from health secretary Matt Hancock that older technology such as pagers should be phased out by the end of 2021.

There are a range of IT firms that are producing technology allowing doctors and nurses to communicate about patients’ conditions in more detail than with the old pager system that simply called them to a ward without providing much other information.

In this case the hospital trust will deploy Patientrack, the first deployment of the full technology suite outside Australia.

The contract will see the trust deploy Alcidion’s Miya Precision platform, Smartpage healthcare messaging product, and Patientrack e-observation and early warning system in all wards.

This will allow for electronic patient observations, electronic paper charts, clinical assessments, clinical noting, patient flow, bed management and electronic discharge summaries for GPs.

Clinical teams will have secure online access to patient information 24 hours a day, where and when required.

Staff will be able to access data through a mobile platform that will allow them to quickly raise the alarm if patients deteriorate.

It’s hoped the technology will mean the hospital will benefit from system-wide integrated care, with nursing staff having more time to spend with patients.

They will be able to prompt more rapid interventions for deteriorating patients, and improve patient flow and discharge procedures.

The hospital hopes that the technology will allow it to cope with increasing demand and allow patients to be cared for closer to home.

Last year Hancock backed West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust’s decision to pilot an app called Medic Bleep to replace the old pager system.

The technology has proved itself in a time and motion study at West Suffolk, thanks to several key improvements over conventional pagers.

This includes allowing communication via text message, allowing for a better audit trail than a pager system.

The app has been created by Medic Creations, and the Trust estimates it could save $4.5 million per year by freeing up the equivalent of 18 full-time nurses, 18 full-time junior doctors, and reducing litigation by up to 21% due to poor inter-team communications.