Young UK hospital patients to benefit from IT advance

By Sam Collins
12:00 AM

Sheffield Children's NHS Foundation Trust in the UK has bought a new virtual desktop tool to give healthcare workers bedside access to patient records via an integrated and interactive IT system.

The hospital said it would save money and free up staff to give more individual attention to young patients.

The Patient Interactive Systems, which have already been installed on six wards, allow hospital teachers and play specialists to keep children up to speed with their school work.

They also offer Sky TV, radio, telephone and internet access but the latest solution - the first of its kind in the UK - will also make a major difference to the way patient records are kept.

Russell Banks, head of IT at the hospital, said, "The scheme has been high on the Trust's desirable developments list for some time and will have a big impact on current patient record systems if rolled out nationally."

The solution will allow medical and nursing staff to increase the time they spend on patient care, giving patients more of the individual attention they require by reducing the need to log in and out of numerous systems, Banks said. "Other benefits include the reduction of the endless administrative paper trail, freeing up revenue which can be invested into other areas of improving patient care."

Enterprise systems management vendor Quest Software has delivered the solution, which is initially being piloted on one ward at The Children's Hospital, in partnership with ANS Group, a technology infrastructure specialist.

The development means that staff at the hospital will eventually not have to rely on the limited PCs available in each ward to update patient records. This will improve significantly efficiency and speed of response and also eliminate the long-standing problem of space at nurses' stations.

Testing has proven successful and the hospital is progressing with a rollout of the system to all the bedside terminal devices, up to 140 in total, and, in the longer term, throughout the Trust's existing PC base.

The Children's Hospital Charity, which has raised more than £250,000 towards the Patient Interactive Systems, will partly fund the implementation of this latest software.

"This innovative clinical information system is another example of how the Children's Hospital is leading the way in patient care," said David Vernon-Edwards, director of The Children's Hospital Charity. "We have already funded the first phase of the Patient Interactive Systems, which have been a huge success with patients, and this latest development will hopefully build on this success, enabling the hospital to be more efficient in its use of resources."

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