NHS Fife has seen a significant reduction in cardiac arrests in one of its hospital’s busiest areas after deploying an electronic observations and early warning system.

The health board became the first in Scotland to deploy a full scale electronic track and trigger system when it went live with Patientrack at its Victoria Hospital six months ago.

The Medical Admissions Acute Unit has seen the number of cardiac arrests fall by as much as two thirds since deploying the technology.

Dr Gavin Simpson, consultant critical care and anaesthetics at NHS Fife, led the clinical deployment. He said the system means any clinician can instantly see the profiles of the sickest patients in the hospital.

“Patientrack has helped us introduce some of the biggest and most immediate changes in clinical practice I have ever seen,” said Simpson.

“There are warning signs before cardiac arrests. The key is to pick them up quickly; that is what Patientrack allows.”

Patientrack involves nurses capturing patient vital signs at the bedside. The system then calculates an early warning score and automatically calls doctors or other medical staff to intervene when there are signs of deterioration.

The health board has also noted a positive impact on its ‘safety huddles’ where clinical teams meet daily to ensure ‘at risk’ patients are identified and managed collaboratively.

Dr Rob Cargill, associate medical director at NHS Fife explained: “Our safety huddle prioritises clinical issues and allows a multi-professional team to discuss individual patients at risk and ensure there is a management plan in place.

“It is enormously powerful to be able to view a live summary of where the sickest patients in our hospital are so we can respond appropriately.”