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Hertfordshire Trust looks to target bed capacity with digital system to manage occupancy and delayed discharge

A trust in Hertfordshire has signed up to a new project which will see patients and clinicians benefit from improved bed management and reduced waits in its hospitals.

The Patient Flow Manager, which is being implemented by Hertfordshire Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (HPFT), will allow staff to spend greater time treating patients and help tackle delays in hospital discharge.

The Access Group to implement Access Patient Flow Manager (APFM)is software that will help staff streamline bed provision across the region, allowing more people to get the care they need quicker whilst reducing costly delays from private beds or those who are fit and ready to go home.

The software has enabled some organisations to see an 83% increase in intended discharge rate at a time when the issue is rarely away from the headlines.

The software will allow clinicians to access patient data and bed information at any time, meaning staff are better informed, allowing them to plan in advance. Enhanced data insights will also give greater visibility of partner organisations, highlighting barriers around hospital discharge to improve processes and support moving patients home quickly and safely.

APFM enables a live view of patients within a hospital or care setting, their condition, and resulting priority for care. This overview allows the trust to move patients accordingly; ensuring a high standard of care whilst also enabling the treatment and care of as many people as possible at any one time.

The trust has approximately 400 beds for adults, frailty care, non-frail elderly care, and mental health – as well as a number of rehab units. Post-covid, HPFT is also utilising private beds to help with service backlog, which it is hoping APFM will help reduce.

Without the visibility of health and care data to effectively manage beds, medical staff attend several meetings a day, carry out multiple phone calls, and send hundreds of emails to gather the required information – a task that is hugely time consuming on clinicians.

“Having a single version of the truth is very important for us; one reliable record that we can all see, and we can all work from. Access Patient Flow Manager helps us achieve that for our inpatient flows and will serve as an operations centre from which we can manage the great care and outcomes we deliver for all our service users, together .” Comments Hakan Akozek, Director of Innovation and Transformation at HPFT.

Working together, the software will allow seamless integration with their existing electronic patient record (EPR) software to ensure the most up-to-date patient notes are available. The solution will provide a real-time view of bed occupancy and patient data through digital whiteboards and mobile devices.

Access Patient Flow Manager will provide HPFT with one single system which will support management by showing the levels of demand and capacity via an easy-to-read, colour coded display. This means information at a glance to save time and allowing for optimal bed usage.

By utilising the trust’s beds, it will resolve the need for costly private beds; allowing this money to be reinvested elsewhere within the trust.

Access will support HPFT with a phased rollout of the new software, train staff on how to use Access Patient Flow Manager and provide technical support throughout the partnership.

Steve Wightman, Healthcare Director at Access HSC (Health Support and Care) comments, “We are delighted to be working with Hertfordshire to roll out our Patient Flow Manager solution. The software will give better visibility of beds, minimise unnecessary long stays for patients and reduce the administration burden on hospital staff, allowing clinicians to focus on giving vital care to those who need it across Hertfordshire.”

HPFT continues to strive to improve the quality of patient care. By using APFM, HPFT aims to improve communications, streamline data, and maximise bed usage, so they can continue to support the people of Hertfordshire for years to come.

HPFT, like many Trusts across England, is in the process of introducing new solutions and overhauling old ones to develop a digital ecosystem of care – as per NHS England’s long-term plan.


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