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Pioneering NHS Real-Time Location Solution – A use case for Improving Flow Through Emergency Departments

Pressures on emergency departments (ED) are rising, and patients are waiting longer than ever for the care they need as national performance targets are routinely missed. Ensuring patients are triaged and appropriate patient pathways taken, whether admitted to an inpatient bed as quickly as possible, or treated and discharged home, is important for both clinical outcomes and to improve the patient experience. Delays in care for patients arriving at A&E have been associated with increased harm and mortality.1 Emergency departments globally are looking for innovative, cost-efficient, and effective solutions that can be implemented while continuing business as usual and not impacting service levels.

The current ambulance service waiting time crisis has shed even more light on the gaps across NHS A&E services. With little to no bandwidth to cope with any unexpected increases in demand or staffing issues, trusts are and should be looking at streamlining and improving operations. The Barcode Warehouse has developed a bespoke real-time location system (RTLS) solution that is already running within other NHS departments; and looks to provide the perfect solution adapted for the ED use case.

The solution utilises RTLS technology and software to centralise existing data and provide real-time control and visibility of operational and clinical performance for efficient care delivery. The solution was developed by the company to help trusts align with the ongoing transformation programme of urgent and emergency care by addressing the importance of patient flow into, through and out of emergency departments, which is the best way to prevent ambulances queuing outside of hospital EDs, prevents overcrowding of departments, and the associated risk of hospital-acquired infection and reduced quality of care for patients.

                Simon Hemingway, Healthcare Director at The Barcode Warehouse comments “We want to introduce digital technology that reduces the strain of the increased demands on the NHS, remove burdens of obstacles and barriers and to support staff to deliver high-quality, patient-focussed, clinical care. Our aim is to deliver a system that focusses on and measures what matters to clinicians and patients, and we think we have achieved that.”

The business further described its solution as an enabler. Helping trusts to efficiently move patients through the emergency department and improve the overall patient experience with real-time dashboard data.

Simon Hemingway added “Staff and patients are having better experiences with communication due to the automated SMS communications regarding transfers between departments and estimated wait times. Patients wear GS1-compliant RFID wristbands to track their journey, helping hospitals to achieve operational efficiencies from having real-time updates of patient location and wait times, treatment milestones and bed occupancy.”

Most significantly, The Barcode Warehouse claims that the solution can help ambulance handovers achieve their 15-minute target and avoid preventable harm from delays.

With the growing focus on efficiency, technology and process engineering for patient pathways, The Barcode Warehouse’s solution appears to be a promising route for those A&E departments looking to make a step change and futureproof their care quality, likewise with clear applications across other NHS departments – is RTLS set to be the new baseline of what good looks like in terms of technology implementation?

For anyone looking to find out more about The Barcode Warehouse’s ED RTLS solution should contact the business directly:

healthcare@thebarcodewarehouse.co.uk

Thebarcodewarehouse.co.uk/healthcare

Sources

https://emj.bmj.com/content/39/3/168

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