New app helps nurses to detect acute kidney injury within minutes rather than hours

Digital resource reduces treatment times and healthcare costs

Digital resource reduces treatment times and healthcare costs

Nurse specialist Mary Emerson shows the app to patient Edgar Ferrante

A new app is helping nurses to detect acute kidney injury in minutes rather than hours.

Acute kidney injury is when a patient’s kidneys stop working effectively.

The condition ranges from minor loss of kidney function to complete kidney failure, and it can be fatal if not detected early.

Nurse alert saves time and lives

The app, called Streams, collates patient data into one place and sends an alert to a clinician if the data suggest that a patient may have acute kidney injury.

This has enabled nurses and doctors at a London hospital to detect acute kidney injury in patients in 14 minutes or less in some cases, compared with the hours it could have taken to wait for blood test results and paperwork.  

The condition contributes to nearly 20% of all hospital admissions in the UK, accounts for 100,000 deaths every year, and costs the NHS £1.2 billion annually.

The Streams app was trialled at the Royal Free Hospital, part of Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust, over four months.

A study by University College London then compared the use of the app during those four months with data from the previous eight months. 

The researchers found that treatment times were faster, and the app cut healthcare costs from £11,772 to £9,761 per patient with acute kidney injury.

Faster identification of deteriorating patients

Royal Free London lead nurse specialist for the patient at risk and resuscitation team, Mary Emerson, said: ‘The Streams app has made a huge difference to clinicians’ ability to respond rapidly to patients who are developing acute kidney injury.

‘This means we can deliver treatment more quickly, and also identify deteriorating patients much earlier.’

Hand-held assistance

The trust’s chief medical officer Chris Streather said digital technologies such as the app were the future of the NHS.

‘In the same way as we can receive transport and weather alerts on our mobile devices, nurses and doctors should benefit from tools that put potentially life-saving information directly into their hands,’ he said.

Streams will be distributed to nurses and doctors at the trust’s Barnet Hospital in the coming months.

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