NHS trust introduces e-whiteboards in wards

Written by Anthony Strzalek

Staff at Southampton’s teaching hospitals are introducing interactive whiteboards on wards as part of a major digital transformation project.

The touchscreen technology displays information taken directly from a patient’s electronic record, including clinical alerts such as existing medical conditions, length of admission and predicted discharge date.

It also acts as a tracking system to identify what is preventing discharge when patients are medically fit to leave hospital.

Previously this information was written on boards by hand when patients were admitted to or moved, which required staff to take time out to interpret and re-write a patient’s notes and increased the risk of inaccuracies during translation.

It is hoped the roll-out, which began on the older people’s wards at Southampton General Hospital, will be completed on all wards by the end of the year.

It forms part of University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust’s selection as one of 16 digital centres of excellence by the Department of Health.

The four-year project will see the trust receive £10 million – doubling investment in the informatics strategy – to pioneer innovations in information management and technology with the aim of becoming a paperless organisation.

Adrian Byrne, director of informatics, said: “This is another important step forward in our drive to enhance the use of digital technology across clinical services.

“Replacing handwritten notes on whiteboards may not seem revolutionary, but saving the time taken to write up notes repeatedly when patients move and minimising the risk of inaccuracies is a significant development.”

Nilesh Patel, technical solutions manager, added: “The touchscreen technology provides a modern approach of presenting clinically-relevant information to support patient care and aid decision-making and the interactive application is a fantastic new innovation to help staff care for their patients.”