An innovative project to replace hard copy patient safety risk assessments with a
new electronic version is taking place at West Suffolk Hospital to reduce paperwork
and free up more time for nurses to spend caring for patients.
The new computer-based risk assessment has been developed over the past year
and is the first of its kind in the country. It is being rolled out across the whole hospital
this week follow a successful trial on ward F6.
“In the past we had to fill in numerous paper risk assessments for every patient,
which duplicated a lot of information and was time-consuming,” said Ian Coe, clinical
practice and education coordinator, who developed the system.
“This new assessment brings all of those documents into one place, which means
nurses only need to fill in the chart once, rather than several times. It has removed
seven pages of paperwork and reduced the time it takes to assess a patient by half,
which means staff have more time available to give care.
“Another benefit is that the programme will automatically alert colleagues if the initial
assessment shows that specific action needs to be taken. For example, if someone is
at risk of malnutrition, the programme will send an email referral to the dietetics team.
Again, this helps save time and ensures every patient is getting the best possible
care specifically tailored to their individual needs.
“We’re really pleased that we’ve been able to develop such a useful alternative to
paper-based assessments. The programme has been really well-received by staff so
far and we hope it will make a real difference to all patients now it is being rolled-out
across West Suffolk Hospital.”
The programme replaces traditional paper-based assessments and is used to
record the risk to each patient of a variety of factors, including malnutrition, falling,
dehydration, pressure ulcers and developing infections such as MRSA. It then
produces a “risk profile” tailored to each individual, highlighting action which should
be taken during their admission to make sure patient safety is maintained.
It has reduced the documentation which nurses complete from ten
pages to just three, in turn helping save time while improving record-keeping.
Staff currently use a portable work station to fill in the assessments. Over the coming
months, the hospital plans to introduce handheld wireless tablet devices on all wards
to further improve efficiency.