New early warning system will save lives

2nd Apr 2014

Patients at Sandwell and City Hospitals are to benefit from an innovative electronic early warning system which could save 200 lives a year.

Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals (SWBH) NHS Trust is investing £576,000 into the VitalPAC system which monitors a patient’s condition and immediately alerts the nursing team if they are getting sicker.

VitalPAC allows nurses to enter vital signs at the bedside (including pulse, temperature and blood pressure) onto iPods, electronically rather than using a paper chart.

The system automatically analyses this information then staff receive an urgent alert if a patient is in need of immediate medical attention, providing an electronic back-up to their decision-making.

The Trust has been successful in securing the money from the Department of Health’s Safer Hospitals, Safer Wards Technology Fund to roll-out the system to wards across Sandwell and City Hospitals.

The system has just gone live on the first ward, D17 at City Hospital, with others following on in the weeks ahead.

Where the system has been installed in other trusts, deaths have reduced by more than 15 per cent and cardiac arrests by 30 per cent.

Dr Roger Stedman, Medical Director at SWBH, said: “This system will ensure we identify deteriorating patients quickly throughout the Trust and has the ability to ensure a better quality of care for patients.

“Rather than nurses filling in hand-written charts, vital signs will be recorded electronically, these can then be monitored centrally at ward level or hospital level, and if need be, emergency medical response teams can be mobilised.

“It will allow us to know where our sickest patients are and ensure there is more staffing in these areas and will help to ensure that our doctors and nurses spend less time filling in paperwork and more time with their patients.”


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