A ‘DIGITAL revolution’ is helping an NHS trust improve its patient care.

Health professionals at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust are now using iPads to record patient observations.

More than 800 clinical staff have been equipped with the mobile devices.

Under the system, teams can monitor and record a patient’s vital signs such as their blood pressure, heart rate, respiration and temperature.

From the data entered, national ‘early-warning scores’ are automatically calculated, alerting staff if a patient’s condition is deteriorating so that action can be taken.

Future options also include assessments for dementia, sepsis, alcohol intake, the risk of blood clots and acute kidney injuries.

The system is currently being used on 13 adult inpatient units.

Among the areas at Airedale Hospital where the so-called e-Obs initiative is already proving its worth is the 48-bed acute assessment unit.

Patients are assessed by medical and surgical teams on the unit after arriving in the emergency department.

Andrew Pickles, matron for urgent care at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust, said the scheme was hugely beneficial.

“It has been a real positive improvement for our teams as a patient’s record is now in one place and it means that all health professionals can access it at the same time,” he said.

“Our acute assessment unit is very busy, with lots of different staff wanting to look at a patient’s record, and so this saves valuable time.

“It is also easier for the nurse in charge to have an overview of the acuity of the ward because the system provides a ‘bed-view’ screen – you can see every patient’s early-warning score at a glance so you know as a co-ordinator where you need to prioritise care.

“That’s very important from a patient safety point of view. It gives you more reassurance, as the nurse in charge of a busy department, that the patients are safe and any problems have been escalated appropriately and correctly.”

His praise of the scheme is echoed by the trust’s project lead nurse, Richard Rees-Jones.

He said: “We’re already seeing benefits, such as improved visibility of the national early-warning scores, timely observations for patients, a reduction in paper use and improved staff morale. We are preparing to roll-out escalation notifications, neurological observations and warning scores for children, maternity patients and new-born babies.”