St Helens and Knowsley wins North West patient safety award for eMEWS

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Patient safety advances with electronic early warning system recognised in prestigious regional awards.

A project to help frontline staff quickly identify the sickest patients in hospital, and manage them in the most effective way, has been recognised in the North West Skills Development Network’s Connect conference and awards.

St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust was chosen as the winner of the Best Improvement in Patient Safety Award by the North West Skills Development Network, following the successful impact of its ‘eMEWS’ project – in which the trust has digitally transformed its modified early warning score system, moving away from paper to iPads.

Under the project, Patientrack software has been used to record vital signs observations on the tablet devices, so that a patient’s early warning score can be automatically calculated, before the system shows clinicians when signs of deterioration are present, enabling rapid intervention.

As a result of eMEWS, and a number of other initiatives introduced, high risk admissions to the critical care unit more than halved following the deployment of Patientrack: from over 10% of inpatients in 2015-16, to under 5% in the first half of 2016-17. The trust has also seen calls to its medical emergency team, which responds to patients in most need, fall by a fifth, and a significant amount of staff time released to care.

Christine Walters, director of informatics at St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “I am delighted that the deployment of eMEWS at the trust, improving patient safety, has been recognised by the Informatics Skills Development Network. The project has been, without doubt, a huge success, and demonstrates that clinicians, nurses, technical teams and suppliers working together effectively can deliver the best outcomes for our patients. A truly well-deserved award for the eMEWS team.”

Congratulating the trust on the award, Donald Kennedy, managing director at Patientrack said: “Staff at St Helens and Knowsley have been highly innovative in adopting technology to improve care for patients. Receiving this award for patient safety is very welcome news that will help to spread awareness of how e-observations technology is being applied for patient benefit by more and more frontline staff in the region.”