iPads for ambulance crews to complete patient records

Ambulance crews in Sussex are set to be given tablets to complete patient records electronically.

Mike Earl, SECAmb paramedic, South East Coast Ambulance Services NHS Foundation Trusts (SECAmb) innovative electronic Patient Clinical Record (ePCR) project is being rolled out across the Trusts region following successful trials in Thanet, Kent. SUS-161125-122742001

The project,which was trialled by South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAmb) in Kent, sees clinicians issued with iPads and allows for streamlined communication with hospitals, savings on paper and time, improved information security, and more legible records.

The NHS trust will distribute the devices to clinicians across its Kent, Surrey and Sussex region in stages with the majority expected to have been delivered by spring 2017.

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The new system involves ambulance crews emailing patient records to receiving hospitals across the region which are then able to either append the record electronically into their own A&E systems or print a paper copy.

Mike Earl was one of the first SECAmb paramedics to use the iPad and electronic Patient Clinical Record (ePCR) application.

He said: “This electronic system has a number of benefits and is a really worthwhile innovation. The quality of the documentation is better and more legible and there are no constraints to a text box like there is with a paper form. “Also the data we log can be captured and audited instantly. While we’re in the early stages, it has been well received by hospital colleagues and staff welcome the fact that the software is operated on an iPad which means the device is multi-functional.”

The rollout will see groups of clinicians receive the devices and be familiarised in their use by specially-trained colleagues.

The ePCR project has been developed with UK-based IT provider Kainos utilizing their Evolve software and with iPads and network provided by O2 Telefonica.

The project has been continually assessed and improved since its operational launch in October 2015 with an improved software version deployed earlier this year.

Karen Mann, IT development project manager at SECAmb, said: “We’re really pleased to enter the next stage of the rollout of this important project.

“Our ePCR will play a major part in our plans to streamline the handover process with hospitals and also reduce the amount of paper we use.

“Clinicians will also benefit from the system during assessments of patients who do not require hospital treatment and we expect it to further improve our links with local healthcare teams and GP surgeries.”

SECAmb Head of IT Mark Chivers added: “This is an important project for the Trust. Not only does it improve patient care and efficiency but it also takes us forward on our mission to be digitally mature. The iPad is intuitive and the clinicians use it not just for the ePCRs but also for messaging, web browsing and more, while keeping data safe utilizing the iOS’ inherent security strengths.”

SECAmb is currently the only ambulance trust in the UK using iPads for its clinical records.

This has ensured the device is multi-functional for clinicians and will open up avenues for further use and development in the future.

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