Belfast’s South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust is transforming its patient administration system to elevate standards in patient care, while also improving the support it offers nurses and healthcare professionals.
With 14,000 employees and 800 patient beds, the trust has, over the past 10 years, been creating a comprehensive electronic record system with the help of Ergotron’s Styleview laptop carts and StyleView carts with LCD Pivot.
It purchased a fleet of mobile medical carts to run its patient administration system and, as its digital needs grew, it began a trust-wide initiative called Encompass to implement a comprehensive electronic patient record (EPR) system to support more-efficient data access and workflows.
The trust needed a variety of mobile point-of-care workstations to introduce this technology into a wide range of care areas, especially as staff were adopting more electronic processes and workstreams.
As members of the Confidentiality Advisory Group, the trust was well versed in best practices for this project and knew that multiple styles of mobile carts, including ones that supported dual monitors, would be important for viewing detailed patient data and imagery within the new EPR system.
Working with Hospital Services Limited, previously Ergoviewing, SETRUST looked to Ergotron’s broad portfolio and selected the Ergotron’s StyleView Laptop Cart and StyleView Cart with LCD Pivot along with the SV Dual Monitor Kit.
With the carts’ integrated laptops and dual-screen medical carts, the trust was able to create a trust-wide comprehensive electronic record system.
It implemented the versatile carts across all clinical areas over multiple locations and extended it to emergency department, theatres, medical and surgical wards, higher dependency units, and intensive care units.
The advantages of mobile medical carts
The project has demonstrated key benefits of mobile media carts with integrated records systems as a result of significantly improving workflows in the healthcare environment. These include:
- Enabling more-efficient data access and workflows across the trust, through providing point-of-care access to the technology
- Improving the quality of daily ward rounds by allowing staff to focus on the patient rather than the technology
- Improving the overall patient experience and involvement in their own care through employees more easily sharing screens with patients via the monitor arms and large screen size. When several healthcare professionals need to view the same information at once, a large monitor on a mobile cart is critical
Meeting needs across a variety of sites and departments
The mobile carts have secure lockable drawers which enable caregivers to safely transport vital equipment to patient bedsides for taking blood pressure, taking blood, and administering medication, which minimises the chances of administering the wrong medication or treatment. This also means they can spend more time with patients and less time traversing the hospital floor.
With a height-adjustable screen and workstation, the cart is designed to enable nurses to work ergonomically and comfortably, minimising risks of pain and injury and it promotes effective on-to-one work at patients’ bedsides and enables seamless workflows, which keeps nurses happier in their roles and able to give their best care.
It is hoped the use of the carts will help with staff retention, with a survey warning that 60% of NHS nurses are considering leaving their jobs
The importance of supporting staff to more easily carry out their jobs was a vital driver in the selection of the carts, as a 2021 Royal College of Nursing survey revealed that 60% of nursing staff working in NHS hospital settings were considering or planning to leave their jobs.
One major cause is that the equipment provided for nurses falls short of meeting their needs.
Nurses are covering miles each day, unable to complete their charting in the allotted time frame, and over three quarters (74%) still work beyond their contracted hours at least once a week; 17% doing this every working day.
And nurses feel they are unable to give enough quality time to patients to create a recovery-promoting patient experience.
In a typical healthcare setting, there aren’t enough mobile and wall-mounted workstations, or they are located too far from the patients, or are too cumbersome to move and position. They are also prone to technical issues, such as long Electronic Health Record (EHR) reboot times or issues with portable devices.
And nurses are tasked with managing the battery life of vital tech devices.
But providing ideal equipment for the caregiver to perform their role can do more than increase staff retention. More-comfortable workspaces with improved access to technology can boost workflow efficiencies, reduce staff injury rates, reduce inaccuracies in care, and reduce hospital stays.
SETRUST chief clinical information officer, David Wilson, said: “The SV Dual Monitor screens on the carts facilitate quick and easy access to all the relevant clinical information caregivers need on a ward round.
“Highly reliable, and with excellent battery life, the mobile workstations allow nurses to focus on the patient rather than the technology. Since their introduction, they have significantly improved the quality of nurses’ daily ward rounds.”
Entering a new era of patient care
Digitalisation and use of flexible technology is taking the healthcare industry into a new era, adds Sean Dooher, the Encompass programme manager.:
“As we move forward with the implementation of enterprise EPR at SETRUST, the already high level of embedded technology that users know and operate with confidence, such as the dual screen medical carts, will give us a significant advantage in this ambitious programme of work,” he said.