Streamlining the Patient Journey for Belfast Health and Social Care Trust
Belfast Health and Social Care Trust (BHSCT) is one of the largest integrated health and social care trusts in the United Kingdom. It delivers integrated health and social care to over 340,000 people in Belfast and provides the majority of regional specialist services to all of Northern Ireland. With a workforce of more than 20,000 people across multiple sites and a high volume of patients, BHSCT needed a better way to manage bed allocation and the patient journey throughout their hospital care. Now, with the help of our digital patient flow they have real time visibility of both.
Making sure patients are safely admitted to the appropriate service and that their information is tracked accurately is key to delivering the best possible outcome. Allocating beds is central to this process, but as in many hospitals, the scheduling of resources and discharging of patients was often labour intensive and reliant on paper diaries, phone calls, physical whiteboards, daily allocation and discharge meetings. Similarly, managing the end-to-end patient flow was equally time consuming. It involved the co-ordination of different departments and resources to ensure due diligence and appropriate governance was adhered to. To overcome these cumbersome processes, the Trust needed a system that would accurately manage and monitor bed allocation as well as the overall patient journey. In other words, they needed a system that would offer them a single comprehensive view.
Working closely with the Trust’s clinicians, our software experts developed Inpatient Care Flow, a digital solution allowing staff to accurately track patients flow throughout the entire system. This was designed and delivered to closely meet the requirements of the Trust across its three major acute sites in Belfast. With the help of the software, the Trust can more accurately track a patient’s journey while also forecasting where resources are needed. This has helped to save both time and money by appropriately allocating resources and by controlling costs associated with unscheduled care.
Furthermore, with speedy access to key information staff can make more informed decisions, and BHSCT staff can target resources where most urgently needed. Additionally, by integrating the software with key clinical systems, such as their Patient Administration System (PAS), this has provided greater transparency and governance across the board. The rapid implementation of Inpatient Care Flow into the Trust was completed within 3 months and deployed to the other sites within 10 months. This was from initial business analysis and requirements, through to the delivery of a stable and fully tested system supported by BHSCT staff.
As a result of introducing Inpatient Care Flow to the Trust, the teams managing the patient flow can ensure the smooth admission and discharge of patients. Additionally, this has improved patient flow, enhanced planning, increased safety, improved communication, and led to more efficient handovers. In turn, making more accurate forecasting and planning possible, saving time and improving patient tracking to a level of over 80% accuracy.
Inpatient Care Flow empowers staff to do what they do best – care for patients. It has also taken away the reliance on paper, helping to meet healthcare targets. Target times for patient discharge from the system would normally be a 1 hour time frame, however, following a 3 month review at the Mater Hospital in Belfast, statistics showed this is actually happening 3X quicker, with the rate steadily improving month by month. With the software in place, the BHSCT team can now see the whole picture, providing a smoother patient journey and a smarter, more efficient way of working.
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