NHS trust deploys new EPR functionality during coronavirus outbreak to identify and escalate treatment for its sickest patients
The rollout of e-observations at Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is helping to pick up on patients at risk of deterioration during the COVID-19 pandemic
Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has gone live with the latest element of its Allscripts electronic patient record; despite the coronavirus outbreak.
The trust decided to deploy the Sunrise EPR as a ‘clinical wrap’ around its existing patient administration system last year and went live with nursing documentation and risk assessments just five months later.
And, on 17 March, the trust added an e-observations functionality.
This includes automatic calculation of NEWS2, the national early warning score that is designed to pick up patients at risk of deterioration.
The implementation of NEWS2 is helping the trust to manage patients during the COVID-19 outbreak.
It has also added icons to its patient tracking board to identify patients with COVID-19 and has made results available through the system.
Deborah Lee, the trust’s chief executive officer, said: “We held our nerve and went live with e-observations this week, and now we know where our sickest patients are, at a glance.”
Professor Steve Hams, the trust’s director of quality and chief nurse, added: “At a time when we were in the midst of COVID-19 planning, I was unbelievably proud of our nursing staff for their impressive implementation of e-observations and their commitment to making it work. This has been good for our patients and good for our clinical teams.”
And Mark Hutchinson, executive chief digital information officer, said: “We knew that moving patient observations to Sunrise EPR would bring huge benefits in our two acute hospitals and had planned our launch for March.
As NHS acute trusts begin to deal with more and more people with COVID-19, the flexibility of Sunrise is proving to be a key tool for helping them to identify and manage these patients
“So, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit the UK, we needed to make a quick decision about whether or not to go ahead. We held our nerve and put extra staff on our wards to make sure we got this right, at a challenging time for our hospitals.
“Having e-obs in place has proved essential in managing our patients during the coronavirus pandemic. Our acute care response teams are able to manage caseloads; senior nursing staff can use the data to manage staffing deployment; and we’re able to track the numbers and locations of patients who are being supported by oxygen.”
To help trusts further respond for the pressures brought about by the coronavirus pandemic, Allscripts has created a Go-Live Virtual Office with a 24/7 virtual meeting room with voice and video capability, structured documents, and screen sharing tools.
The office is connected to a floor-walking messaging app, so team members can be aware of issues as they are identified on wards and clinics, before they are logged into help-desk systems.
For the Gloucestershire go-live, the virtual office was staffed with a wide range of team members based in different countries around the globe, so the trust team could visit at any time.
Richard Strong, Allscripts managing director, said: “As NHS acute trusts begin to deal with more and more people with COVID-19, the flexibility of Sunrise is proving to be a key tool for helping them to identify and manage these patients.
“It was a brave decision for Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust to introduce new functionality to record patient observations and escalate the management of deteriorating patients amid the huge organisational change required to prepare for the pandemic.
“But it was absolutely the right decision, and one Allscripts was determined to support.”