Nurses praise electronic patient records for ending ‘mountains of notes’

New system increases efficiency and empowers patients at London trust

New system increases efficiency and empowers patients at London trust

Royal Free Hospital antenatal clinic midwife Sarah Fowkes says her colleagues
have embraced the new way of storing records

A new electronic patient record system has freed up nurses’ time and reduced unnecessary variations in care at a London trust. 

Nurses at the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust can enter details straight onto the electronic patient record (EPR), and no longer need to spend time trawling through paper records.

The system went live at Barnet Hospital, Chase Farm Hospital, Edgware Community Hospital, Finchley Memorial Hospital and the maternity department at the Royal Free Hospital in November 2018. 

Enhancing care

Clinical nurse specialist in pain management at Barnet Hospital and Chase Farm Hospital Christine Gracey said: ‘I love that there are no longer mountains of notes. It’s enhanced my day-to-day work as it’s freeing up precious time.’

Information from devices such as blood pressure monitors is uploaded to the system automatically, and, if a patient’s observations are outside the normal range, staff are alerted.

In addition, more than 4,000 patients were assigned to a new clinical pathway in the first 16 weeks of using the new digital system, which offers prompts for healthcare staff based on certain symptoms and conditions.

The trust’s chief nursing information officer Katie Trott said: ‘There are many ways in which EPR helps our staff deliver better care to patients.

‘It improves patient safety by providing alerts for medication protocols, and it increases efficiency by freeing up clinicians’ time and reducing unnecessary variations in care.’

Patients can register for a secure online patient portal, which allows them to view their hospital health records, manage hospital appointments and receive test results and messages from their care team.

Travel reduction

Ms Trott detailed another benefit of the system: ‘The patient portal allows patients to enter their pre-op assessment information from home, instead of having to attend hospital as they did previously.’

Royal Free Hospital antenatal clinic midwife Sarah Fowkes said initially there had been some ‘dragging of feet’ because staff were fearful of change, but now midwives felt confident navigating the EPR.

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