Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust has implemented Patientrack’s early warning score track and trigger system to help staff spot and support deteriorating patients.

The system, which has been deployed on 38 wards across both St Richard’s Hospital and Worthing Hospital, is being used to identify patients who should be moved to palliative care.

Patientrack, originally developed in conjunction with doctors and nurses, automatically calculates early warning scores alerting clinicians when interventions are required.

Ward manager, Leo White, who was the project lead, said that national early warning score calculations, a system that is used by staff to assess patients who are developing potentially life-threatening illnesses, are now “100% accurate compared with no more than 80% when recording observations on paper.”

"It takes less time to capture observations and calculate scores using Patientrack than with our previous approach, which was based on calculating scores manually from observations on the paper chart.

“Also, if the ward gets busy, the system reminds staff which observations are due, so they aren’t skipped. As ward manager, I can quickly see the scores of all the patients and know where to direct my attention," she explained.

More than 2,000 staff, including nurses, doctors and other clinical staff are using Acer handheld devices, which are connected to the trust’s upgraded wireless network to electronically record observations at the bedside.

Patientrack, which also ensures observation and assessment protocols are performed regularly and appropriately, was chosen in a tender process over another product that had been trialled on two wards for a year.

Dr Richard Venn, a consultant at the trust, said: "It has helped nursing staff feel more empowered to get help sooner when they feel a patient needs intervention from a doctor, by providing clear evidence that a patient may be deteriorating.

“Meanwhile, doctors can view patient charts and observations remotely, allowing them to start making changes to patient care even before arriving on the ward.”

Western Sussex is now set to extend use of its Patientrack system to provide support for Commissioning for Quality and Innovation assessments, such as those for venous thromboembolism.