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'Track and trigger' cuts cardiac arrests



NHS Fife reports sharp fall in hospital incidents following deployment of real time system for alerts on vital signs

A Scottish health board has reported a two-thirds reduction in the number of cardiac arrests in it main hospital, following the deployment of what it said is the first full scale electronic 'track and trigger' system in the country.

NHS Fife said the sharp improvement has been achieved over six months and that the technology can be used in other ways, offering significant potential for hospitals around Scotland.

It installed the Patientrack system at Victoria Hospital. It monitors vital signs and provides real time data to clinicians, ensuring that observation and assessment protocols are carried out correctly, and automatically calculates their implications to provide early warnings of when an intervention might be needed.

The system escalates the calls until patients receive an appropriate response. This saves nurses from having to phone for doctors and helps to prioritise the treatment of patients around the ward.

It has also been used to support the 'safety huddles' used by NHS Fife, in which clinical teams meet daily to review clinical and operational safety issues. These are designed to ensure that patients at risk are identified and managed collaboratively.

Meaningful discussion

Dr Rob Cargill, associate medical director of NHS Fife said: “We are the only hospital in Scotland with the ability to identify in real time all of our sickest patients and have a meaningful clinical discussion about patient care.

“Our safety huddle prioritises clinical issues and allows a multi-professional team to discuss individual patients at risk and ensure there is a management plan in place. It is enormously powerful to be able to view a live summary of where the sickest patients in our hospital are so we can respond appropriately.”

The deployment was led by Dr Gavin Simpson, consultant of critical care and anaesthetics at NHS Fife. He said it has provided instant views of the profiles of the sickest patients and helped in the introduction of changes in clinical practice.

“Moving forward, Patientrack has the potential to address a range of clinical problems faced by hospitals across Scotland,” he said.

Picture from Patient Track.

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