A hospital in north London has begun to pilot a mobile phone app for staff in the A&E department to hail a porter.
Northwick Park Hospital, part of the London North West University Healthcare NHS Trust, began to use the app from Infinity Health on Monday. The pilot will run for a month and, if it proves successful, the app will also be made available to Ealing and Central Middlesex hospitals.
More than 400 clinical and non-clinical staff will be involved in the pilot, including more than 60 porters.
A&E staff will be provided with iPhones with the Infinity Health e-portering mobile application already loaded onto them. iPad portering stations in various areas across the department will make sure that staff who do not have one of the iPhones can still book a porter.
The move is expected to replace the existing practice of staff filling out a two-page request form and reduce the time spent in following up requests for porters. The app will allow them to see in real time when a patient has been collected and arrives at their destination.
It will also give porters instant, up-to-date information about the patient they are collecting. It is hoped to overcome some current problems that include porters not being able to read the writing on the request form, not being notified of cancellations and no-one being able to proactively track the progress of each request.
Managing patient flow
Northwick Park’s lead consultant for emergency medicine Dr Miriam Harris, said: “This is a positive step towards helping us manage patient flow. The hospital is very busy and demand on portering services is always high.
“The app will help reduce the amount of time taken to request a porter or the need to chase requests up. It also allows us to add special instructions for the porter, such as the need to carry patient records, oxygen, or support equipment.”
Image from North West London University Healthcare NHS Trust