Southern Health and Social Care Trust is rolling-out Aura Healthcare’s patient flow system to improve bed management at Craigavon Area Hospital.

Flow will be deployed in all the hospital’s wards over the next three months, after a pilot project showed it improve how patients and beds were being managed.

The system was installed on six wards and the emergency department at the 430-bed Craigavon hospital in August.

The Southern trust’s assistant director of informatics, Siobhan Hanna, said: “the purpose of Flow is to provide an electronic visual representation of current bed status anywhere in the Southern Trust.

“Each ward has an electronic whiteboard which is fed directly from the patient administration system, which dynamically shows admissions, discharges and transfers to each ward.

“Visual alerts and tasks are displayed to ensure the effective communication with all staff involved in the care and treatment of patients to efficiently manage the discharge process and reduce delayed discharges for patients.”

Hanna said the trust decided to work in partnership with Aura to develop Flow after investigating bed management systems on the market and finding that none that matched current ward processes and symbols known by staff.

She said the system is a central component of the trust’s ‘release time to care’ initiative and saves bed managers and nurses having to comb the hospital for empty beds.

Instead, they can see a holistic view of patients and beds in real time and allocate beds electronically. Flow is linked to the trust’s patient management system so records are updated instantly.

Hanna added that the system has been well received by staff.

There trust also plans to implement the bed management system at its Daisy Hill, South Tyrone and Lurgan hospitals.