NHS Lothian leads the way in technology


 TRIAL of a new handheld computer for clinical staff at St John’s has proved so successful the device is to be rolled out across Lothian.
As part of a pilot project which began in May, doctors, nurses and pharmacists at St John’s have been using seven PC tablets to record patient data directly onto the patient records system.
The Mobile Clinical Assistant devices have been used across the Medical Directorate to enable clinicians to spend their time more efficiently during ward rounds.
Real-time access to patient data allows clinicians to perform ‘complete episodes of care’ at the bedside, enabling them to spend more time with patients and less time on administrative tasks.
The handhelds have allowed doctors, nurses and pharmacists to save time during ward rounds, when prescribing medicines and in discharging patients, because they have instant access to the information they need.
Notes can be inputted directly onto the electronic system and consultants have instant access to test results and full patient history so they can make informed clinical decisions at the patient’s bedside.
As information can be stored electronically, there is a reduction in the volume of paper notes on the ward.
The pilot at St John’s Hospital has been so successful that it will be expanded across NHS Lothian, with 100 handhelds being phased in across St John’s, the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, the Royal Hospital for Sick Children and the Western General Hospital.
Dr Charles Swainson, Medical Director, NHS Lothian, said:
“By reducing the time that needs to be spent on administrative tasks, the Mobile Clinical Assistants allow clinicians to spend more time with patients. Instant access to medical notes has also speeded up the clinical decision-making process.
“We have been delighted at the success of the trial at St John’s and we are planning to deploy the devices across other acute hospitals in NHS Lothian.”
Martin Egan, Director of eHealth, NHS Lothian, added:


“The eHealth Team have been working studiously in the background over the last 18th months upgrading our technical infrastructure to allow us to support technologies such as this. The reception from clinical staff towards the MCAs has been unprecedented in my experience, the staff were very reticent to give up the devices at the end of the initial pilot.”
“The introduction of mobile computing using devices such as this will improve efficiency together with staff morale and enhance the patient’s experience during their hospital stay.”