East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust has deployed digital care plans at one of its hospitals to ensure clinical staff can access vital information when they need it.

The trust has rolled out Nervecentre’s digital care plans at its Lister Hospital in Stevenage, following a pilot at two wards at the hospital.

By supporting nursing teams to digitally record assessments and care plans, the digital plans ensure that clinical and operational teams have visibility of all information. In addition, nurses at the hospital can capture assessments, notes and observations at the patient’s bedside using a mobile device. This information then forms part of the real-time electronic patient record.

Ward manager at Lister Hospital, Cecile Gascon, said: “The digitalisation of care plans and assessments saves us time as it’s very accessible, and it’s cost-effective as we don’t need to print paper anymore.

“There is better communication between the multidisciplinary team as it’s all in one system, and makes it much quicker to do audits. The doctors can actually do things remotely too, for instance prescribing medication without needing to come into the ward to prescribe in the drug chart.”

The use of digital care plans at East and North Hertfordshire is saving a significant amount of time spent collecting and recording patient information. The pilot at Lister Hospital found that while a paper nursing assessment proforma (NAP) took an average of 45 minutes to complete, a digital NAP took just 9.6 minutes – a saving of over 30 minutes for every patient.

Going digital for recording patient information also ensures that information is an integrated part of real-time electronic patient records. It also eliminates the risk of information getting missed or lost and ensures it is accessible to everybody and not isolated from other parts of the patient record.

Paul Volkaerts, CEO at Nervecentre, said: “Our mission at Nervecentre is to make the NHS run on real-time data. Digital care plans are a great example of how NHS trusts can digitise paper-based care, using mobile technology and real-time data to provide safer and more efficient healthcare services.”

Nervecentre was already in use across the trust for eObs, NEWS2 escalations and AKI alerts, fluid balance and within its emergency department. The use of digital care plans has now been fully deployed across all adult inpatient wards at Lister. In the future it hopes to deploy direct access to patients’ primary care records for clinicians too.