North Bristol NHS Trust has fast-tracked the roll out of a series of digital tools to help its response to Covid-19. 

More than 3,500 clinicians went live with System C’s CareFlow instant messaging and care co-ordination app, and soon after the whole trust went with CareFlow e-observations.

The two systems are linked and the latest National Early Warning Scores (NEWS2) feed through into the team-based care co-ordination app; this means all members of a team caring for a particular patient have the latest information available on desktops or mobile devices.

Melanie De Witt, chief nursing informatics officer, North Bristol NHS Trust, said: “This has been a major project driven by a clear patient safety benefit and delivered with a true team spirit.

“Everyone, from our trainers to the frontline staff, has taken digital change in their stride during what have been extraordinary times. I’m delighted with this transformative step in the trust’s digital strategy.”

Adoption of the new system in the trust’s intensive care unit has proved valuable during the pandemic as handovers are faster which is helping during challenging times with increased patient numbers and staff working longer shifts.

Vascular surgeons are also using the picture messaging capability to provide an easily accessible record of the wound for post-surgical patients so that the patient is spared unnecessary discomfort during dressing removal whether in hospital, at home or in the community.

The Hospital at Home team is also using picture messages to allow swift intervention from senior clinicians to help reduce readmission rates, an especially significant benefit during the Covid-19 crisis. A study of benefits will be published later in the year.

Next step plans include refining emergency department referral processes with CareFlow’s referral feature.

In January 2020, Digital Health News confirmed System C Healthcare had been selected for North Bristol NHS Trust’s £24.6m electronic patient record (EPR) contract.

The contract also includes the supply of professional services to project manage and implement the solution, alongside and the provision of relevant software licenses.

Markus Bolton, joint chief executive at System C, added: “What North Bristol has done in the timescales is excellent and shows what can be achieved with that level of engagement and can-do approach.  I’m pleased we could support the Trust to meet its ambitious plans at a critical time.”