Welch-Allyn ELI380 ECG machine image

A new electronic care system has been trialled at the Antrim Area Hospital in Northern Ireland, which helped improve patient safety from reduced data inaccuracy and free up healthcare professionals’ time with each patient.

According to the Royal College of Nursing, an integrated electronic care system can have benefits for both patients and carers. With a single, comprehensive electronic health record system, patients can be confident that high quality, accurate data is available to their clinician, wherever they access healthcare.

As part of a wider project to replace the ageing technology in the cardiology department at the Antrim Area Hospital, investment was made in five Welch-Allyn ELI380 ECG machines that could connect to the hospital’s existing electronic systems.

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The devices were equipped to wirelessly transfer results to the hospital’s Cardio Vascular Information System (CVIS) and onto the Northern Ireland Electronic Care Record (NIECR).

Data integrity is a key patient safety issue, notes Welch-Allyn, as possible implications of data inaccuracy can include delayed or missed diagnoses or incorrect treatment, which puts caregivers at risk of patient harm.

When Welch-Allyn vital signs monitors were introduced at Antrim Hospital, the findings showed that instances of data inaccuracy were significantly reduced. The hospital performs around 200 ECG readings every single day, and results revealed that ‘failures’ due to errors made by mistyping were virtually eliminated, reduced from around 30-40 daily to almost nothing.

Admin burdens were also reduced, with benefits including:

  • Utilisation of barcodes on patient’s wristbands, allowing patient demographics to be instantly transferred to the Patient Administration System, preventing mistyping errors.
  • Turn-around time between patients was reduced, with a time saving of around five minutes per patient, allowing staff to meet increasing demands on their service efficiently.
  • Wireless data transfer to the electronic care record so consultants can access it from any location, out-of-hours. This enabled staff to seek out more senior involvement and escalate at-risk cases when necessary.

The goal of the project was to introduce a fleet of advanced electrocardiogram (ECG) devices which could wirelessly communicate with the existing hospital patient systems.

Gavin Richards, Marketing Director at Hill-Rom (the parent company of Welch-Allyn), commented: “Hospitals are under increasing demands; by developing innovative solutions to improve workflow and enhance data accuracy we can ensure healthcare providers get the best value from technology and improve patient outcomes.”

Hill-Rom is a global medical technology company whose products, services and employees aim to help people get better care inside and outside the hospital.

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