Project wins praise from Health Minister
Southern Health and Social Care Trust is to roll out Aura Healthcare’s patient flow solution to all wards at Craigavon Area Hospital over the next three months, after a pilot project showed it is improving how patients and beds are managed on hospital wards.
Aura’s Flow solution was installed on six wards and the emergency department at the 430-bed hospital in August. The project won praise from Northern Ireland’s Health Minister, Edwin Poots.
Having investigated existing bed management technological solutions available in the marketplace and demonstrated these to ward staff, it became apparent that there were no solutions available that matched existing ward processes
During a recent visit to the hospital, he said: “I commend the Southern Trust for using innovative new technology to reduce the time that patients are waiting to be discharged from hospital and improving the flow of patients through the hospital. I look forward to returning to the Southern Trust when the new system has been fully implemented to find out more about the improvements it has delivered for patients.”
The minister was at Craigavon to see three key developments; a new operating suite, new children’s ambulatory unit, and Aura’s patient flow technology.
Siobhan Hanna, Southern Trust’s assistant director of informatics, said: “The purpose of Flow is to provide an electronic visual representation of current bed status anywhere in the Southern Trust.
“Each ward has an electronic whiteboard which is fed directly from the patient administration system, which dynamically shows admissions, discharges and transfers to each ward. Visual alerts and tasks are displayed to ensure the effective communication with all staff involved in the care and treatment of patients to efficiently manage the discharge process and reduce delayed discharges for patients.”
“Having efficient admission, transfer and discharge processes helps smooth the patient journey, which increases the flow throughout the hospital and gives staff more time for direct patient care
She added: “Having investigated existing bed management technological solutions available in the marketplace and demonstrated these to ward staff, it became apparent that there were no solutions available that matched existing ward processes, or the terminology and symbols that were already used and understood by staff in caring for patients and managing effective and timely discharge. The trust therefore sought interest in partnership working with a software supplier to develop bed management technology to match current ward processes and symbols known by staff.”
Flow is a central component of the trust’s ‘release time to care’ initiative and saves bed managers and nurses having to comb the hospital for empty beds. With a holistic view of patients and beds in real time, bed managers allocate beds electronically, matching availability to a patient’s needs and dependency. Linked to the trust’s patient management system, records are updated instantly.
“Having efficient admission, transfer and discharge processes helps smooth the patient journey, which increases the flow throughout the hospital and gives staff more time for direct patient care,” said Aura Healthcare’s chief executive, Adrian Stevens.
“Similarly, ensuring patients are discharged promptly not only saves time and money, but improves a patient’s experience and wellbeing.”
“The solution gives staff a view of the entire patient population across the entire hospital in a consistent manner from any location, making it an extremely powerful asset,” added Mark Hindle, Aura Healthcare’s chief operating officer.
“Being able to query the patient population and capacity to find where patients are and find beds instantly will help improve the processes around patient flows.”
There are now plans to implement the solution at Southern Trust’s Daisy Hill, South Tyrone, and Lurgan hospitals.