£900,000 awarded to help hospital develop technology in patient care

Bedford Hospital south wing
Bedford Hospital south wing

More than £900,000 of funding has been won by Bedford Hospital to enhance patient observations using the latest available technology.

The Trust was one of 62 organisations out of 276 to bid successfully for the second round of funding from NHS England’s Nurse Technology Fund, which has allocated £35 million of funding over the next two years.

The Nurse Technology Fund was first announced in 2012 and is designed to support nurses, midwives and health visitors to make better use of digital technology in order to deliver safer, more effective and more efficient care.

Bedford Hospital’s funding, which totals £905,000, will be used to launch a project called ‘Point of Care’, which allows nursing staff to record patients’ vital signs electronically using handheld mobile devices. The software will then analyse data from the observations and calculate patient risk scores, which is transferred automatically onto other electronic clinical systems used throughout the hospital.

The Trust currently uses paper records to monitor patients’ observations and calculate nurse risk assessments, which include blood pressure, pulse, temperature, and the risk of falls or pressure ulcers.

Electronic records are more easily accessible to staff, more legible, consistent and easy to audit. They also help to identify sick or at-risk patients more quickly.

Not only does the technology allow nursing staff to record observations, it also provides a dashboard of data for patients throughout the hospital on electronic interactive whiteboards.

This can identify any deteriorating or at-risk patients at an early stage, which can then be escalated immediately to medical and specialist nursing teams, who will be able to provide earlier treatment to support the patient.

Tracey Brigstock, Bedford Hospital Deputy Director of Nursing, said: “We are delighted to have secured this considerable amount of funding from NHS England that will allow us to embrace the latest digital technology available in healthcare.

“The ‘Point of Care’ project will provide a much more efficient and reliable system that will help to transform patient care on our wards. It will provide our staff with improved access to clinical information, allow them to identify and escalate any deteriorating patients straight away, and also free up more time for them to care for our patients.”

The Point of Care project is expected to be completed by spring 2016.