Scottish NHS staff ‘improving patient safety’ with interoperable mobile technology

Thousands of staff are providing better, more efficient care to patients at 19 hospital sites in North East Scotland, thanks to mobile handsets and messaging software that have enabled them to ditch old-fashioned pagers for all but emergency communication

April 25, 2019

The i62 voice over wifi (VoWiFi) handsets and messaging software from Ascom UK enable nearly 4,000 clinical and non-clinical staff within NHS Grampian to communicate vital patient information to each other ‘within seconds’ rather than wasting time trying to find a landline to respond to pagers.

Clinicians say the handsets are enabling immediate notification of urgent referrals and helping to improve patient care. Senior IT managers have hailed the ‘100% successful’ integration of the Ascom technology with 3rd party application providers including Intersystems’ TrakCare electronic patient records (EPR), the Ensemble integration & data platform and the nurse call system on the Foresterhill Health Campus; home to the region’s largest acute hospital, Aberdeen Royal Infirmary. Staff serve a population of 500,000 across Aberdeen City, Aberdeenshire and Moray.

Dr John Thomson, Consultant Gastroenterologist said: “Besides the advantages of using a handheld rather than an old-fashioned ‘bleep’, Ascom’s integration with the health board’s other technology has helped improve the order of workflow and quality of data by enabling immediate notification of urgent inpatient referrals.

“Before Ascom we had just one stream of inpatient referrals – a phone call (via pagers) at a time that may have not been convenient to the on-call team. Now we have three streams: immediately life-threatening, urgent and routine. That has led to workflow efficiencies, plus improved patient safety and clinical governance of the referrals and subsequent clinical actions.” 

Bill Smith, co-head of ICT Services said: “We are very happy with the way that Ascom was able to integrate with our other systems. For example, integration with our nurse call system has saved staff miles of walking every day. It allows patient alarms to go straight to the handhelds, and nurses know immediately who is calling them rather than looking for a light or buzzer. It also passes on alarms from bathrooms and day rooms. It benefits patients too of course as when they call for help, they know it has gone straight to a member of staff within seconds.”

Paul Lawrence, managing director for Ascom UK said: “At Ascom we pride ourselves on integrating with any third-party system and this is a great example of how seamless, joined up technology on a large scale can benefit staff and patients alike.”

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