Hospitals and staff operate in a controlled environment where guidelines and protocols are in place. These guidelines and protocols are essential to every hospital as they provide frameworks for working with multi-discipline teams and allow NHS staff to put a standardisation of care into practice. This has a major effect in patient care as it reduces the variation in treatment and thus reduces the chances of error.
Hospitals guidelines and protocols in the UK are all quite similar. They derive from the National Institute For Clinical Excellence (“Nice”). For every hospital, there are variations depending on treatments or staffing availability. As a result every hospital has a vast array of guidelines and protocols, these can reach into thousands of pages.
There are two common ways that all hospitals can access these documents at the moment.
1. Through hard copy books that are distributed to individual staff members.
2. Through the hospital intranet.
Hard copy books are the more traditional means. They cause headaches for both medical staff and the protocol development team maintaining the documents. The obvious headache for hospital staff is the need to carry documents from ward to ward. For the protocol development team there is an issue of document control. With every new edition released, the protocol development team must make sure the out of date document is returned. This can be a logistical nightmare and in some cases there is a concern that out of date documentation is still in use.
The hospital intranet is a more robust system for alleviating problems of document control. But it has its own problems. One of access, even though some medical staff would have their own dedicated PC or laptop the large majority of staff rely on shared computer access. To make things worse, users need to login to the hospital system every time they access shared computers. Searching for the required information can be an issue as the intranet only makes the documentation available through PDF files.
At present the workload and strain on hospital staff is increasing. In order to utilise their time staff may consider not referencing guidelines and protocols. Instead they may rely on past knowledge which could increase the risk of medical error. There is a concern that changes in drug dosages or acute emergency guidance may be overlooked.
It becomes even more of an issue for trainee medical staff who in a lot of cases are placed on 6 month rotations in hospitals. Guidance for these individuals is important. Especially with the short period of time/ learning curve that they need to get up to speed with new hospital environment. The problem outlined for experienced staff are the same for these trainees. But is magnified with the pressure and time limitations they have at a Trust.
Initiatives like having the NHS paperless by 2018 and the Nursing Technology Fund mean that mobile devices are becoming the norm in hospitals throughout the UK. This has opened up opportunities to change the shape of how hospitals distribute and maintain their guidelines and protocols. Our Enterprise Solution ONCOassist has done just that. The application allows Oncology departments to integrate these documents in an interactive manner..
Our unique interactive format allows users to navigate with ease and speed. There is no need to trawl through PDF’s and paper documents.
Protocol development teams no longer need to worry about document control among staff. Portable Medical Technology use a cloud based system that syncs with mobile devices. It will keep all software and documentation up to date with the latest changes.
ONCOassist’s Enterprise Solution is also Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) friendly. This allows all staff access to critical information. Thus the need to distribute hospital devices to all staff is not needed.
Medical Students no longer need to worry about the vast array of information. The information they need will be in the palm of their hand. The interactive manner allows them to access the most critical information they need. No longer will they have to leave a patient’s bedside to find, to wait, to access, and then go through pdf’s on a computer to find what they need.
ONCOassist provides users with interactive formulas and prognostic tools that are CE approved. Hospitals will be able to notify staff of changes through push notifications and news feeds. Tracking of usage will give hospitals clear indications of adherence.
The benefits are clear. Reduced time, reduced chances of error and increased quality of care.
If you want further details on ONCOassist’s Enterprise Solution please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org