The new approach uses the latest computer tablet technology both to record and to evaluate patients' vital signs. It will help alert medical staff to patient deterioration on the wards more reliably.
You can find out more about the research in an audio slideshow below: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V8R4xVeOK9Y .
The Research Councils
Just as now, nurses will regularly take readings of a patient's vital signs such as heart rate and blood pressure. But instead of writing the information on an observation chart, they will input it into an iPad or computer tablet.
Researchers in the
"The new system will help nurses, who work in busy, high-pressure environments, care for patients more efficiently and effectively," says Professor
"The traditional chart-based method of recording vital-sign data is susceptible to errors in both recording and analysis of vital signs. This has been shown in multiple studies, including one funded by the Oxford BRC. Furthermore it limits the availability of the data to the bedside, making its sharing across the hospital difficult.
"The new electronic system automatically calculates the hospital's Early Warning Score, a scoring system which we have developed from extensive statistical studies of patient data. This highlights combinations of vital-sign readings which give cause for concern. The system also enables all vital-sign data and scores to be accessed instantly by all relevant healthcare staff, wherever in the hospital they may be."
In the future, it is planned to take advantage of next-generation scores tailored to different patient groups, for example those recovering from surgery.
At present, six vital signs are measured to calculate the Early Warning Score: heart rate, respiratory rate, blood pressure, arterial oxygen saturation ('the sats'), temperature and level of consciousness. Details of oxygen therapy and clinical concerns can also be recorded on the iPad at the same time. The system has been designed with the future in mind so that it can easily be extended to include other data, such as blood sugar levels or neurological observations.
"The system is currently being rolled out across three wards and then, with the help of the 'Safer Hospitals,
Keywords for this news article include: Hospital, Technology,
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