Smoothing the patient journey
Aura Healthcare has completed the initial implementation of an integrated clinical noting and patient flow solution at the 600-bed Mater Misericordiae University Hospital in Dublin as part of a project designed to release more time for direct patient care, improve care quality and safety, and reduce costs.
Aura’s Flow solution is installed on 30 wards and specialty units, but is currently live on 17 wards and the patient flow department. The Mater has opted for a gradual switchover to ensure staff are fully trained in advance. Clinical noting will be added once this phase is completed.
With a real-time view of the hospital’s bed capacity, the patient flow team and all relevant management teams know exactly when and where beds become available, which is a crucial component of the patient journey and ensures each of our admitted patients has access to the care they need at the right time
The patient flow functionality will help the Mater Hospital actively manage admissions, improve access, transfers, and maximise timely discharges to remove inefficiency and hold-ups, especially any that prevent patients being discharged on time.
With 42ins electronic touchscreen whiteboards on every ward or unit, staff have an instant ‘at a glance’ view of patients and the care and tasks required. Fed directly from the hospital’s patient administration system (PAS), the boards show patient information and bed state in real time to actively manage beds and minimise delays.
The Mater did consider several options, but having a bi-directional interface to its PAS was a priority. Any changes made in the Aura solution are reflected immediately in the PAS and across the hospital. Similarly the electronic touchscreens can be used to update the PAS.
“Aura’s solution offered the best value for money,” said Deirdre Hyland, head of ICT at the Mater Misericordiae Hospital.
“It was a hugely complex project, but the implementation has been smooth, which is testament to the careful project planning by Aura and the hospital’s implementation team.”
Replacing largely paper processes, Aura’s solution is shown to increase efficiency and improve safety. It helps to reduce the administrative burden on nurses particularly and so releases more time for direct patient care.
“With a real-time view of the hospital’s bed capacity, the patient flow team and all relevant management teams know exactly when and where beds become available, which is a crucial component of the patient journey and ensures each of our admitted patients has access to the care they need at the right time,” said Noreen Keane, Mater’s project manager for the Aura solution.
“At ward level, the whiteboards provide staff with a simple interface to monitor the progress of each patient against their individually-tailored date of discharge.
“It will help reduce delayed discharges by ensuring patients are not occupying beds unnecessarily, which not only helps cut waiting times, but importantly improves the patient experience as they are able to go home on time.
“Additionally, the solution will give us vital management information to help forecast capacity and demand so that we can plan services more effectively to maximise bed occupancy.”
The solution has the potential to save money as delayed discharges represent a major cost. A report in Irish Medical News suggests that delayed discharges may be costing the health service in Ireland €500,000 a night.
Adding clinical noting will give medical staff instant mobile access to patient admission records to inform, set and rank doctors’ tasks according to clinical need and priorities. It provides a shared view of the precise requirements of every patient on every ward, plus clinical ‘to do’ lists and the ability to assign tasks to teams or individual doctors, nurses and healthcare professionals.
A study of 1,319 patients at the Mater Hospital found that, on average, patients moved beds 2.75 times per hospital stay. Staff not having access to a central, up-to-date view of bed status and availability was seen as a root cause.