Musgrove clinicians develop mobile app to help spot severe illnesses in children - 31 March 2017

Musgrove clinicians develop mobile app to help spot severe illnesses in children - 31 March 2017

Clinicians at Musgrove Park Hospital have developed a new mobile app to help spot conditions that make children severely unwell.

The app is being used by healthcare staff in the hospital’s emergency department (A&E) and children’s wards, based on an approved paediatric observation priority score, also known as POPS.

The checklist uses data to clinically score acutely ill children on a combination of physiological, behavioural and risk factors when they present to hospital. Those scoring the highest on a scale of 0 to 16 immediately get priority attention.

The app has been shortlisted for a national HSJ Patient Safety Award.

The app asks for the child’s age, level of consciousness, level of breathing and other factors, such as diabetes, asthma, or if the child was born prematurely. It also takes into account the instinct of the clinician treating them.

The clinician also has to input the child’s vital signs – temperature, pulse, respiratory rate and blood pressure.

The app is being implemented throughout the hospital, allowing clinicians to refer to a consistent checklist when discussing the assessment of a child.

It means clinicians can create a set of rules as to where a particular child should be seen, and by which medical professional, to get the right assessment and treatment.

Dr Sarah Bridges, consultant paediatrician at Musgrove Park Hospital, said:

“We are really looking forward to seeing how the use of POPS develops within the hospital and potentially in the future by GPs when they see patients in the community.”

Dr James Gagg, consultant in emergency medicine at Musgrove Park Hospital, said it was important that the medical profession embraced new technology to benefit patients.

“This app is an excellent tool in A&E as it allows all staff to identify the clinical risk of a sick child by simply using a smartphone at the child’s side.

“It helps to make sure the child is seen at the most suitable place in the department for further assessment, as well as deciding how rapidly they need to be seen by a senior doctor.”

The original POPS system was created by the University of Leicester, which worked closely with Musgrove on the app development.