Galway University Hospitals in Ireland is piloting a patient flow system from Aura Healthcare in order to manage winter pressures and bed shortages.

The system, which integrates with Galway’s patient administration, gives bed and ward managers a view of the whole hospital in order to manage admissions, discharges and beds across the wards.

Enda Daly, Galway’s head of bed management said the aim was to avoid having patients left without a bed while meeting waiting list targets at the same time.

“We are facing an expected increase in urgent and emergency cases throughout winter, which will put real pressure on our bed capacity,” he said.

“Efficient patient flow is central to the smooth operation of a hospital. A coordinated electronic flow system will help reduce inefficiency and ensure we make the best use of our resources, including maximising bed occupancy.”

The system will be trialled four wards; one surgical and three medical. Following the trial, the system will be implemented across Galway, which covers two hospitals and 600 beds.

This means all 30 wards will have a touch screen whiteboard which has a bi-directional link to the PAS, so real time updates will be available in both systems.

In a bid to improve communication between everyone involved in the patient’s care process; beds are allocated electronically, matching bed availability to a patient’s needs and dependency.

“Planning patient movements in real time improves efficiency and reduces administration, giving doctors and nurses more time with their patients,” said Daly.

Martin Molloy, Galway’s information services manager, the aim is to make sure the system results in benefits for patients and staff.

“The applications have a visual appeal that will impress staff, use touch screens and can also be run from mobile devices, which will help us with ease of data capture, resulting in real time information,” he added.