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This article was first published on Health Tech Newspaper | Read it now
In our latest Interview Series we asked Neil Griffiths, Managing Director of TeleTracking a few questions.
I have always been immersed in the healthcare sector, having held a number of operational and executive level roles within NHS Trusts and private sector over the last 25 years or so. I also sit on the board of my local acute Trust and as such, continue to see first hand the pressures facing healthcare organisations on a day to day basis. It was a passion to drive change that has helped to form my role as MD at TeleTracking, using both my knowledge and experience to tackle the operational challenges that sit at the forefront of the industry. I strongly believe there is the opportunity to modernise core operational processes in hospitals and make better use of capacity. Working at TeleTracking I have the opportunity to make this a reality.
As a company, we are mission driven. We believe it is unacceptable that patients are constantly denied access to the care they need, when they need it, due to operational inefficiency that can be readily overcome. With the aim of adding significant value to the hospital experience, our patient flow solution offers integrated flow automation and sensor flow technology. From reducing idle bed time and A&E breaches by improving bed availability to saving vital resources and costs, this system is set to enable hospitals to change dated bed management processes and combat some of the problems that continue to engulf the NHS.
Throughout 2018/19 we’ve worked with a number of hospitals across the UK to transform their bed management processes. The introduction of this technology has had an extremely positive impact on every organisation and the outcomes have been impressive. We have helped create additional capacity through reducing the wasted time between patient bed placements, have improved staff experience through our new tools, and created additional nursing time back to care. We also play an important part in improving patient quality through reducing outliers.
Additionally, with our help, a group of three hospitals now have complete visibility of every single bed in the estate in a centralised place through the creation of a ‘control’ centre. In the first three months of operation, this centre has helped each of the three organisations to reduce their idle bed time by over two hours per admission. In a sector where minutes, even seconds, matter this is absolutely fundamental for transforming the care and staff experience.
These developments are a great reflection of how innovative technology can help transform the way hospitals operate for the better. Not only is this significant for patients, but nursing staff are also able to flourish in a less pressured, stressful work environment. We’re hoping to replicate this success over the next 12 months across a host of other NHS Trusts.
More and more healthcare organisations are battling patient delays, with 20 million unnecessary patient days spent waiting. With this in mind, hospitals are having to find new ways to cope with the increasing demands on the healthcare system and address the well-recognised challenge of bed blocking. Every year, NHS Trusts spend between £2 million and £7 million adding capacity. Some have attempted building new wards and adding more beds, but in fact they are still running into problems because the core issues haven’t been addressed.
It’s important to say this is not a criticism of the efforts of staff or an issue of a particular profession, but a result of the system.
Today the NHS is wasting resources, by a lack of visibility of its current real time bed capacity, by not being able to clean beds as soon as they become available, and by an inability to fill beds as soon as they are clean. This all inhibits getting the right patient into the right bed. This is because the entire process is unmeasured, unmonitored and overlooked, resulting in “idle bed time”.
Bed management teams in today’s hospitals have no insight into the number of beds available or where: they rely on periodically roaming the wards in a bid to find a bed. With nurses tasked with bed preparation – a job that will never be prioritised over a patient’s clinical needs – bed turnaround is routinely delayed. Additionally, there are often patients placed in the wrong wards for their needs (outliers) because ED beds are allocated on ‘time waited’ rather than ‘care needed’, even though evidence shows that this often results in them experiencing an extended hospital stay.
Our data suggests that idle bed times averaging six to eight hours are typical in the NHS, but this waste is invisible in most hospitals. Our experience globally is that it is possible to reduce it to less than one hour and 45 minutes, which is equivalent to creating 3,000 extra beds across the English NHS.
There has always been slight hesitation about implementing new technology systems – people are nervous about change and what impact it may have on them and their role. When it comes to our solution, it is important to look at the long term impact of this system on nurses, doctors and management teams, and the benefits it holds.