Musgrove Park Hospital introduces mobile technology to wards - 27 August 2019

Musgrove Park Hospital introduces mobile technology to wards - 27 August 2019

Musgrove Park Hospital is introducing new technology on its wards, including iPods and iPads for doctors and nurses to update patient information on the go.

Musgrove Park was named a Global Digital Exemplar for the NHS in 2016, and received £10 million in Government funding to enable it to make rapid progress in transforming its use of digital technology.

The three-year programme of work, which involves building software with clinicians and rigorous testing and safety checks, is coming to an end and patients will start to see changes in the hospital.

Another five wards are now using iPods to update patient information on their ward electronic whiteboards, transfer patients to other areas of the hospital, and discharge patients. By replacing the physical whiteboard with electronic information, staff  can quickly see which patients need an assessment and can prioritise those who are otherwise fit to go home. There are now 10 out of 25 wards using the software.

Of Musgrove’s digital working, Mr Mark Vearncombe, a patient at the hospital, said:

“I think it’s the way forward. I know in my own job we use iPads which stops a lot of paperwork. It means no one is searching for documents and information is all contained in one place which I imagine helps the staff.

“When the nurses are using iPods they let me know what they are doing and I feel confident they are following procedures and I know that nothing is being missed.

“The service I’ve had at Musgrove has been excellent, I’ve not been to hospital for years and it’s really opened my eyes.”

In the coming months the process of prescribing medicines will also be digitised. Using portable ‘computers-on-wheels’ or laptops, medicines will be prescribed, administered and reviewed using an electronic drug chart instead of paper notes at the end of patients’ beds.

The stereotypical doctor’s handwriting will be replaced with technology, making care even safer with a robust system recording what medicine has been given and when, even alerting doctors to any allergies a patient may have.

Another new advancement coming to the hospital is an app for patients referred for weight management treatment. Developed with University College London students, the app aims to reduce patient waiting time by directing to the right health professional in the right order for their individual needs, based on a series of medical and dietary questions. The app provides a link between patients and their clinicians to track their progress and manage their care remotely.

A second app developed in collaboration with the university focuses on patients coming to Musgrove Park for surgery. Using an IPad, patients fill in a pre-operative checklist which updates their clinical information and means nurses can assess if they need any further checks before they are deemed fit for surgery, based on their age, weight, and lifestyle. Once trialled, this could be completed at home and avoid a trip to hospital.

The hospital has been making strides behind the scenes as well, making outpatient departments digital to start recording patient information electronically so that all their information is in one place and can be accessed quickly when needed.

Mr Tom Edwards, consultant surgeon and chief clinical information officer at Musgrove Park Hospital, said: “Fast access to information about patients is absolutely crucial for our doctors, nurses, and other clinical staff. Safe and effective digital systems are vital.

“Safety alerts will be immensely useful, but it is important to remember that, whatever technology we use, it will still be our highly trained and expert staff who are making decisions about diagnosis, treatment and patient care.”