How Technology is being Used to Improve Care

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The Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust has considered how to minimise the problems associated with mislabelling of specimens. A communication system has been developed that allows staff to identify patients by bar code scanning their wrist band.

A portable work station can be taken to the bed side. The wrist band is scanned which opens the patient's electronic record. The specimen request is then checked, labels printed and the specimen collected. This has removed the need to write requests by hand and avoids the associated risk of transcription errors and illegible hand writing – doctors take note.

Barts and the London NHS Trust has developed a Cardiac recovery from Operation Quality Assessment System (C-ROQAS). This is a database that is used to predict the normal progress of a patient's recovery after cardiac surgery. With nearly 1,000 patients entered in to the system to date; this provides a way of identifying potential problems early so staff can respond quickly to a patient's needs. It is also a useful audit tool and has resulted in cost savings of almost £82,000 in the first 18 months.

These are just two of the shortlisted innovations detailed. The NHS is constantly under pressure to reduce costs. The above two technologies aim to improve patient care and have the added benefit of reducing costs. It seems like a win win situation for the NHS and patients.

Patricia Wakeford

Solicitor - Clinical Negligence team

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