National Spinal Injuries Centre - new electronic records system

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The NSIC, based at Stoke Mandeville Hospital and part of Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust, cares for children and adults with spinal cord injury from across the UK and abroad. Patients are often in need of specifically tailored, carefully balanced, treatment and rehabilitation programmes by teams from many disciplines. These can include consultants, occupational therapists, sports injury specialists, language and speech therapists, physiotherapists, nurses, psychologists, pharmacists and counsellors.

The 127 bed unit, which has seven wards, treats around 900 inpatients a year. Around a quarter have suffered spinal damage in road accidents, a similar number have had falls, or suffered sports injuries, or been the victims of violence. Many remain inpatients for weeks, even months, before they can return home. For some it will be the start of a lifelong relationship with the unit.

Before the phased implementation of the new system the unit largely relied on paper records and a hospital PAS. The 270 staff now have a fully-electronic system for viewing and updating most records. It allows records to be instantaneously updated and care plans to be made, helping to promote the consistent documentation of medical records. It also improves the sharing of information between healthcare staff such as doctors and therapists — who may work on different shifts and find it hard to meet. The use of mobile computers mean they can even do this at the bedside.

Claire Guy, NSIC rehabilitation programme lead, who oversaw the introduction of the system, said: “It′s a real advance because it promotes patient-centred care and interdisciplinary working. It also saves time for staff. For example if a part-time speech or language therapist needs to know what was agreed at a meeting about a particular patient, they can now easily access this through the system and provide the correct treatment.”

For further details :

The National Spinal Injuries Centre

Claire Howard

Partner in the Personal Injury team.

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