North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust has "shaved a couple of hours" off the time to CT scan for stroke patients using data collection software CaptureStroke.

Dr Helen Skinner is a consultant stroke physician at North Tees, which was the first trust to go-live with the system. She said it has helped the trust implement service changes, such as direct admissions to the scanning waiting room.

This has “shaved a couple of hours” off the average time to CT scan, meaning treatment to prevent reoccurrence of stroke can start earlier for patients.

CaptureStroke is a web-based application that allows clinicians to record and monitor data on stroke patients on handheld or desktop devices. This can be streamed over a hospital’s wireless network and integrated with its patient administration system.

The system flags up incomplete assessments and required procedures and the information can be submitted directly to the quarterly national stroke audits.

The project to develop the software was originally funded by the North of England Cardiovascular Network, which contracted with Digital Spark to develop the software.

North Tees piloted the system, which is live in all trusts across the network and includes a regional portal. This means that within the area’s Stroke Advisory Group, trusts can share data benchmarking against national targets and best practice, Dr Skinner said.

Trusts previously had access only to data that was six-months old and therefore retrospective. In contrast, CaptureStroke captures information in real-time.

Positive impacts of things such as the direct to scan initiative can therefore be seen quickly and shared across the network, allowing other trusts to implement similar changes with evidence to support them.

“Now we can see the benefits of that directly because we have the data. Previously we wouldn’t know until six-months later,” Dr Skinner said.

The network has a profit-sharing agreement with Digital Spark, with income invested in developing further systems, such as Capture TIA (transient ischemic attack). North Tees has already piloted the system and has been running it for around 18-months.

It is designed to increase efficiency in TIA clinics and ensure best practice tariff delivery. It also links with the CaptureStroke system so can notify a stroke unit of patients with previous TIA who have gone on to have a stroke.