An electronic patient observations system, developed by Oxford University and Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, is due to be fully rolled out across the trust by this May.

Called the System for Electronic Notification and Documentation, ‘SEND’ was devised and researched through the NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre, a collaboration between the trust and the university.

The system replaces bedside paper charts with tablet computers, allowing staff to input vital signs such as heart rate and blood pressure electronically.

The system – which links to patient barcode wristbands to identify them – gives advice on how to manage the patient’s care and displays any deterioration in their condition.

Deployment started at the trust in 2014 and the system was recently introduced at Oxford’s largest hospital, John Radcliffe Hospital, where it is expected to be fully rolled out by this May.

More than 140 tablet computers are already being used and more than 300 will be in use by the time the project is finished. Each ward has around six tablets.

Since the system’s launch, more than two million vital signs have been recorded through SEND for more than 12,000 patients by more than 4,000 staff members. These are also stored in the trust's Cerner electronic patient record.

The trust said the digital system will allow information to be shared more easily around the trust making a patient’s clinical condition, “available to the right people at the right time”.

The project will also aid new research into how data about patients can be combined to identify those who are at risk of being transferred to intensive care.

The HAVEN project will use data from SEND, along with other data such as blood test results and previous medical history, to develop a new electronic system to help intensive care specialists spot critically ill patients earlier.

Funding to deploy the system was provided by the Safer Hospitals, Safer Wards Technology Fund.