National rollout of BGH’s digital ward system

NHS Borders-Sandra Armstrong
NHS Borders-Sandra Armstrong

Touchscreen technology piloted within Borders General Hospital has shown it can reduce patients’ average lengths of stay.

Initial results from NHS Borders show that the digital ward in the Medical Assessment Unit has enabled staff to speed up patient turnover.

And the new system is to be rolled out across Scotland following its success at the BGH.

Dr Hamish McRitchie of NHS Borders said: “As associate medical director, I know that from the Medical Assessment Unit we can see what is going on in the whole hospital.

“The Board Round that takes place in the Medical Assessment Unit means every patient in that ward is reviewed by every member of the multidisciplinary team, every day.

“Our system helps to prevent patients staying in hospital longer than they need to and makes sure that our beds are used effectively.

“We don’t want anyone to be in the wrong ward, or in hospital longer than they need to be – and neither do our patients.”

The new digital patient trackers display a virtual map of the hospital ward on a large touchscreen. Patient details can be accessed by touching each patient icon and free beds can be marked and allocated right away.

It means nurses and doctors can act quickly to treat or transfer a person and thus ease the pressure on Accident and Emergency departments.

The introduction of the touchscreens is part of a three- year action plan to transform emergency care services for patients across Scotland.

Scottish Government health secretary Alex Neil added: “We know we are seeing more people than ever before coming to hospital as emergency admissions due to the ageing population.

“The system gives full visibility of what is happening across hospital and cuts down on phone calls and assists with the flow of patients in the hospital, reducing delays.

“I want all boards to have an electronic system in place.”