Birmingham East and North PCT has contracted with risk management systems developers Vantage Technologies to implement its web-based Sentinel reporting software.

Sentinel is a risk management tool which has enabled Birmingham East and North (BEN) PCT to record and manage incidents more effectively and conveniently, and also provides the data for analysis to help identify incident themes and trends and improve the quality of patient care.

Mark Cheshire, BEN PCT risk manager, told E-Health Insider Primary Care: “Sentinel has ensured we meet the mandatory reporting requirements of the National Patient Safety Agency (NSPA) and Healthcare Commission (HC) and has also delivered a number of key commercial benefits to ensure best value and optimum performance levels.”

The software was already installed in the Eastern Birmingham PCT before the PCT mergers took place on 1 October. Sentinel will now be rolled out across the newly-merged PCT to improve overall working practices and patient care.

Cheshire added: “A key benefit to staff and to the trust is the system’s usability – a simplified reporting format and secure remote access via means less administration, enabling clinical staff to spend more time delivering care to patients.”

Sentinel will replace the paper-based system currently in use at BEN PCT. Under this system, incidents took an average of six weeks to be logged and acted upon. Since its introduction, the trust claims that incident reporting has increased by 70 per cent allowing incidents to be dealt with in real-time.

Tim Ray, Vantage Technologies’ customer service director, told EHI Primary Care: “Sentinel provides the trust with a proactive means of managing risk, through early identification and the monitoring and analysis of trends. Incident reports are logged and processed in real-time, and automatically sent to relevant line managers across the trust so that appropriate action can be taken.

“As the system is web-based, it can be easily rolled out on to a number of desktops and it’s easy to work with. Staff can now centrally input any incidents themselves and not need to rely on logs on papers being passed around.”

Cheshire added that the electronic recording meant incidents could be analysed and dealt with a lot quicker, and preventative measures can be taken for the future.

“Effective trend analysis has helped the trust to avoid issues such as inappropriate referrals, freeing up valuable time and resources and improving overall service to patients.

“The only issue staff are having with the software at present is having to deal with speed, which we can’t do anything about based on our current server bandwidth restrictions. There are also some technophobes, who we are working hard to convert.”