The pace and scale of digital change led by our clinicians, nurses, community colleagues and IT team in recent years has been staggering and technology is now a golden thread through the way our hospitals and community services are working together.
This site explores how innovative technology has developed our services in hospital and in the community to provide safer and more efficient patient care.
The innovative Lorenzo Electronic Patient Record (EPR) system is being used by staff as soon as a patient enters the hospital via the Emergency Department or outpatient clinic until they are discharged home.
Technology really is revolutionising the way staff are working, strengthening partnerships between health and care organisations and giving patients a better experience of local healthcare.
Our diabetes outpatient department has made a giant leap and is now 100% paperlite with other services and departments drawing closer to this target.
Technology is being used in the inpatient setting with great success. Ward staff have carried out more than 2.2 million comfort rounds using iPods. Comfort rounds are conducted by staff who visit every patient and ask they if they would like something to drink, or if they would like to be repositioned or use the bathroom.
The Trust’s new electronic prescribing system has seen more than 10,000 administration events recorded every day and is helping to reduce incidents of avoidable harm associated with medications.
The system automatically checks for patient allergies and any drug interactions with current medication. These alerts are flagged up to the relevant staff member providing care and an alert is sent to nursing staff when a patient’s next medication dose is due to avoid unintentional missed doses.
The new system is being used by 2,000 clinical staff, including nurses and doctors.
Staff on the wards at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary (RLI) and Furness General Hospital (FGH) can now order inpatient meals using tablet computers on the same day rather than having to fill in a paper form and taking it to catering staff a day in advance.
More than 250,000 meals have been ordered on the wards at RLI and FGH. The old process could take ward staff up to one hour 30 minutes to complete. The new process ensures patient satisfaction as they are getting the meals they have ordered that morning. So if a patient is transferred to a new ward they will still receive the meal they ordered. If they are discharged, the system will know this and the meal will be cancelled.
Not only do the staff on the wards have more time to spend on patient care, the tablet computers have significantly reduced food wastage by 45%, which is a reflection of the Trust’s commitment to become more eco-friendly and efficient.
The Lorenzo EPR has given the multi-disciplinary maternity team, including midwives, maternity support workers, obstetricians, paediatricians, neonatal nurses, health visitors and GPs more time to care for patients.
Other benefits include a reduction in the amount of paper form-filling that staff currently need to complete and an assurance that notes and patient information are always available for maternity staff.
In the Community
GP practices and community services across the Bay now have a better picture of a patient’s journey in and out of hospital thanks to electronic systems like STRATA. GPs are now using the online NHS e-Referral Service (e-RS) for first time outpatient referrals, stopping paper referrals and reducing the amount of paper used.
GP’s are empowering their patients through apps such as the iPlato myGP app which patients use to book appointments with their GP practice and order prescriptions online instantly.
The STRATA system offers evidence based, structure templates which give clinicians a better picture of the patient and their needs, up-to-the-minute information, referral options and waiting times.
In primary care GPs can use the system to refer on to children’s, diabetes, mental health and direct access services.
In hospital the system covers referrals on to such services as:
- Adult Social Care
- Cumbria Drug and Alcohol
- Emergency Eye Casualty
- Palliative Care Service
- Community nursing and child safeguarding
Power really has been put into the hands of patients across Morecambe Bay with the touch of a button thanks to the iPlato myGP mobile phone app.
Benefits of the online app include:
- Allowing patients to book appointments with their GP practice without having to attend the practice in person or make a telephone call
- The ability to order prescriptions instantly
- Automated message reminders for patients
- An awareness of local health campaigns through local and personalised messaging.
Laptops have been introduced for midwives working in community settings, such as GP surgeries, children’s centres, supermarkets and leisure centres. This will allow staff to access the most up-to-date information relating to the woman’s care.
An innovative Advice and Guidance service enables GPs to access specialist advice from colleagues working in hospitals and enables patients to be seen more quickly and not have to travel to hospital for an outpatient appointment.
The Advice and Guidance service is a locally-developed system enabling GPs to have a secure electronic ‘conversation’ with a hospital specialist.
The scheme was introduced as a pilot in Garstang in 2014 as part of Better Care Together and is now available across the Morecambe Bay area.
The Emis Web electronic record system is helping GPs and community staff on the Langdale Unit, Millom and Abbey View wards, to deliver integrated care across Morecambe Bay.
The system’s benefits include:
- Giving staff the ability to book appointments for patients across organisations
- Allowing staff to communicate effectively including sending instant messages for advice between community staff and GPs
- Easier access for staff to records across organisations
- Standardised templates and consistency of work
- Links to patient facing applications, including the ability to send text message appointment reminders to patients and giving patients the ability to cancel appointments in areas such as podiatry and diabetes. Approximately 50% of patients are using the text messaging service in General Practice.
Morecambe Bay Health Community Informatics Team
Medical Unit 1
Royal Lancaster Infirmary