An ambulance trust has begun rolling out its new computer aided dispatch (CAD) system, after its previous system led to a patient harm review.
South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust is running a phased go-live of Cleric Computer Services’ CAD from July to September.
Cleric went live in the trust’s Coxheath emergency operations centre on 5 July, Crawley on the 19 July and will go live for the final centre when the existing centre in Banstead is relocated to Crawley in early September.
A CAD is the system used by emergency operations centre staff to assess and prioritise 999 calls, and to dispatch ambulance crews as appropriate.
The previous CAD, provided by 3tc Software, had resulted in a patient safety review as it was unable to consistently identify the location of public access defibrillators at the time of a 999 call.
No adverse impact on patients could be identified, but lack of harm could not be definitively proved.
“The review found that there was no adverse impact on patients identified from the data reviewed, although it was recognised that due to a number of constraints, it was not possible to rule this out completely”, a trust spokesperson said.
The review said the trust “regrets” that it did not put the best systems in place to manage the defibrillator risk, and these issues led to the purchase of a new CAD.
The trust’s July board papers said the go-live at Coxheath “happened safely, with no interruption to service provision” and “no major issues”.
Joe Garcia, executive director of operations at the trust, said Cleric “will be of huge benefit”.
“It is already enhancing the information capabilities to plan and forecast activity, as it is a reliable and future-proofed system.”
In a trust statement a spokesperson said the decision to move systems was “in order to improve reliability, user experience and improve performance and information”.
Digital Health News reported in February that a Care Quality Commission report had found the trust’s ongoing failure to update their CAD system had a “potential impact upon reaching patients in a timely manner”.
The board papers said there will be a support arrangement with 3tc in place until October 2017. The system had been in use for more than 10 years at the trust.
A trust spokesperson added that the new CAD will be able to accurately identify the location of defibrillators at the time of a call.
South East Coast is also looking at its ability to maintain a more accurate defibrillator database, which it says is a challenge across the ambulance sector.
“Recognising that this is a national issue, the British Heart Foundation is currently funding a £5 million project to create and support a national database of defibrillators for a period of three years”, the spokesperson said.
Cleric is already in use at three other UK ambulance trusts.
Charles Porter, technical director at Cleric, said: “We are delighted to have been awarded the contract for SECAmb’s CAD system, we look forward to working in partnership with the trust.”