East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust has become the first trust in the country to use a Bluetooth patient tracking system to improve surgical performance.

The technology is embedded into tags in a patient’s wristbands within the surgical wards so that clinical staff can track their journey around the hospital. This data can then help ensure that delays are avoided as staff can see when operating theatres are ready, when patients are moved to recovery and locate any patient at any time. The light patient tracking system will automatically notify staff of patients’ whereabouts via live-data screens.

The initial Bluetooth pilot scheme uses real-time patient flow system which has been developed by MYSPHERA and implemented with the support of Beautiful Information. Its aim is to help ensure that surgical departments run smoothly and efficiently, delivering seamless care and improving staff coordination.

Information from the tags in wristbands is automatically collected and shows the journey of a patient as they move around the hospital before, during and after surgery. his relieves pressure on staff who would usually be responsible for collecting and inputting that data, and helps pinpoint exact timings.

Alexis Warman, service development lead at the trust, said: “One of the other core benefits of this system is that the data will be indisputably accurate, will be in real-time, and will have been created automatically. This reduces the reliance and resource pressure on the staff to input the information manually and provides us with a wholly precise recording of every stage of the patient’s theatre journey.

“As a result, the data is powerful and can quickly highlight areas of focus and drive change. This pilot will allow us to investigate and measure all of the changes and benefits of having such a system in place and enable us to predict the scale of the benefits if this system were to be implemented across all theatres.”

While it’s the first time technology of this type has been used to track patient movements, dashboards have previously been used to show a live picture of what’s happening within a hospital. In Lincolnshire, live ambulance data was incorporated into a dashboard so that staff at the county’s A&E departments could access instant updates. Its real-time dashboard, delivered by Cambio, is helping three local NHS trusts to better predict demand.

Annys Bossom, UK general manager at MYSPHERA, added: “This is a first for a UK hospital trust and one we are genuinely excited about because we know that other leading hospitals in Europe have already made significant improvements which ultimately benefit patients.”