Kettering uses secure app for clinical referrals & care co-ordination to help combat Covid-19
19th June 2020
- Photos, updates and alerts are shared quickly between teams away from the bedside, reducing the need for face to face contact and for changes of PPE
- Part of an extensive digitisation programme in partnership with System C
All doctors, nurses and care professionals at Kettering General Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (KGH) are using System C’s care co-ordination app to communicate securely through text and picture messaging, receive alerts and perform e-handovers, as part of an initiative to co-ordinate care, improve patient safety and keep staff safer.
KGH started rolling out System C’s CareFlow messaging and electronic handovers functionality to doctors in December 2019. The Trust now has over 1,100 clinical users, and staff used the app to enable over 24,000 electronic handovers in May.
Dr Ajay Verma, consultant gastroenterologist and one of KGH’s CCIOs, commented: “We started rolling out CareFlow Connect late last year because it represents an exciting development for patient care – an electronic record of handover provides much wider visibility, is safer and less labour intensive than using old-fashioned paper-based systems.
“Its use has proved invaluable in dealing with Covid-19”, he added.
Usage in the intensive care unit increased 400% from March to April, during the height of the pandemic, where it was facilitating team handovers by providing up to date clinical summaries accessible away from the bed space.
Less face to face contact reduces the need for changes in PPE, and photos of symptoms can be shared with colleagues off-ward. Other benefits include the integration of pathology and patient administration systems, so clinicians receive automated, audible alerts on their mobile device when a new positive Covid-19 result is received.
In addition, electronic handovers and referrals are paperless, reducing the risk of paper-borne transmission, while the shared information all links back into the EPR.
The go-live is an important step in Kettering’s recently-announced 10-year strategy to deploy an integrated electronic patient record (EPR) system, working in partnership with System C. Its aim is to improve care provided to patients by delivering mobile clinical and decision-making support to clinicians, improving the flow of patients through the main 600-bed hospital and outlying clinics and fully digitising the patient record. Its progress to date is documented in a new video, showing how KGH staff are using the system.
Andy Callow, Chief Digital Information Officer at Kettering, said the Trust had already deployed System C’s e-observations functionality across all adult in-patient wards. Since go-live in October 2019, the Trust has recorded approximately 430,000 electronic observations for over 15,000 patients. Already, marked improvements have been recorded in the completion and accuracy of recording vital signs.
Recorded quality of care benefits reported by other CareFlow Vitals users include reduced mortality of 15%, a 70% reduction in cardiac arrests, and marked improvements in recognising and treating sepsis, leading to reduced length of stay and improved outcomes.
“We’re really excited to be following an ambitious digital programme focused on improving both the patient and the staff experience,” Andy said. “We are closely working with System C as one of the key enablers of this digital journey and we’re already seeing the benefits.”
KGH is now rolling out CareFlow’s e-referrals capability, starting with specialties. Clinicians are already reporting that it is speeding up the referrals process and allowing them to track their referrals more effectively. It is also planning to use the app for referrals between KGH and neighbouring Northampton General Hospital, another CareFlow user.
KGH provides acute healthcare services for the people of North Northamptonshire and South Leicestershire, treating approximately 377,000 people a year.