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The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust delivers ‘SafeHands’ Quality of Care Programme utilising TeleTracking Technology.

The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust (RWT) is the largest acute, community and primary care providers in the West Midlands, employing over 9,400 staff covering 350+ roles and providing care across three hospital sites (New Cross, Cannock Chase and West Park) as well as a variety of community and primary care sites.

In 2015, the Trust faced three major challenges: Access to Care; Patient Flow; and Infection Prevention. Faced with this, RWT focused on how a sustainable IT-enabled transformation could make the hospital more efficient whilst providing better quality care.

Building on an electronic hand hygiene monitoring solution it had implemented, supported by TeleTracking’s Real Time Locating System (RTLS) based patient flow and healthcare operations technology, RWT set out to address these three major challenges.

The ‘SafeHands’ Programme was initiated with the purpose of improving the quality of care, improving the patient experience.

The Vision

The objectives of the Programme crystallised into:

  • Improved patient throughput, access, discharge planning, quality and safety.
  • Redesigned functions and processes of the Trust’s ‘Patient Flow’ team to achieve greater efficiency through access to a 24/7 live bed state.
  • Automated workflows to remove the burden of administrative tasks from frontline staff.
  • Staff provided with real-time alerts to patient safety risks, isolation area alarms and patient walkout alarms, with a tool for escalation of staff safety concerns.
  • Monitoring of all staff-patient-asset interactions for internal infection prevention and tracing and care hours per day.

As the program developed from its initial focus on hand hygiene monitoring to implement TeleTracking’s Hospital Coordination Centre and IQ Operations platform, RWT established three core best practices:

ACCESS: providing an opportunity for patients to have access to consistent, quality care that the Trust offers to the community.

EFFICIENT AND EFFECTIVE PATIENT PLACEMENT: ensuring that patients are being placed in a timely way into the care setting that best meets their medical needs.

IDENTIFICATION OF THROUGHPUT BARRIERS: identifying the barriers to daily throughput and partnering with care management to solve them.

The Partnership

The Coordination Centre is now responsible for coordinating all patient placements within the Trust. Today, 4,000 employees, all inpatients and over 1,500 assets at New Cross Hospital are equipped with RTLS sensor badges, making this the world’s largest deployment of RTLS technology in a healthcare setting.

Acting as the ‘Care Traffic Control’ centre of the Trust, staff now have real-time visibility of all beds, patients, staff and equipment across the organisation. The technology also automates workflows and provides contextual communication to support end-to-end operational improvement and sustainability.

The Trust engaged with the implementation process by allocating key members of staff to attend design sessions to focus upon agreeing improved workflows that were then incorporated into the design and build of the systems.

Working with TeleTracking, the ‘SafeHands’ partnership project team was supported to design and deliver end user training, ensuring that the key benefits of the programme were understood by all staff. In addition, all staff were supported to understand how their engagement and use of the system would drive the realisation of these benefits.

The Outcomes

The key benefits of the ‘SafeHands’ initiative to date have been measured as follows:

  • Bed turn-around time has improved by 1.5 hours per discharge.
  • 190 hours per week of nursing time have been returned to care.
  • 56% reduction in ED 4-hour breaches due to bed availability.
  • 70% of patients have a discharge time identified on the day prior.
  • Medical outliers occupying surgical beds have fallen by 48%.
  • The time to assign a bed to an incoming patient has fallen by 40%.
  • 78% reduction in the on the day cancellation of surgery due to bed unavailability
  • 45% reduction in escalation ward capacity.
  • 11% reduction in length of stay.

The system enables the Trust to track staff-to-patient contact time, which can support rota planning and help redeploy staff in line with patient acuity. These advanced analytics also help to report on the care hours per patient day, as highlighted in the Carter report, and gives staff the ability to more directly implement and report on the SAFER patient flow bundle.

NHS Trust delivers ‘SafeHands’ Quality of Care Programme