North Bristol NHS Trust is replacing paper observation charts on patient beds with tablet computers in a pilot starting next month.

The trust is trialling an in-house developed bedside computing application, which it hopes will help it move towards more paper-lite processes.

The trust will begin its ‘bedside computing project’ the first week of July on two wards. A small number of nurses will be given tablet computers to view patient notes and enter vital signs.

The trust’s interim head of IT, Mike Brooks believes that the application, running on modern tablet devices, is the best way to test whether nurses will use bedside technology.

"We want to prove that nurses will use the technology as part of their everyday life at the bedside and use it well," he says.

The pilot will run for two months and the trust is looking to include functionality for real-time discharges and transfers.

The issue then is how to integrate the new tool with North Bristol’s electronic patient record system, Cerner Millennium.

"The reason we’re not using Cerner is we want to give nurses the most modern-day tool, whether it be an iPad or tablet, with the most modern interface because if they don’t use that they won’t use anything,” says Brooks.

The trust’s current version of Cerner, "doesn’t lend itself to that type of technology".

North Bristol is also implementing a ‘bring your own device’ policy, which it has begun piloting with some clinicians who are able to access work calendars and email on their personal devices.

By mid-July, staff should be able to access the trust clinical systems and potentially order tests on a tablet computer, Brooks adds.

Brooks believes BYOD is the only way forward as few people want to carry around two smart phones or tablets while at work.

Read more about North Bristol NHS Trust in insight.