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Kingston Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Significantly reducing observation times at Kingston allows clinicians more time to treat their patients.

As with many other health and care facilities, time and resource is a challenge faced by the staff at Kingston Hospital. The increasing demand for healthcare professionals to document the care they provide impacts the amount of time their care teams have to spend directly at the bedside, caring for patients.

Kingston identified that one area in which the process could be improved was during patient vital sign observation and recording.

A crucial aspect of hospital care, vital sign monitors are important indicators of a patient’s clinical condition and support timely decisions on the treatment interventions that need to be made.

Prior to integrating their monitors with the electronic health record (EHR), Kingston’s nurses would measure a patient’s observations on a device, note the readings on paper, find a workstation and manually enter the readings into the clinical record.

The disjointed and time-consuming nature of this workflow was:

  • Heightening the risk of transcribing errors
  • Creating a mismatch between the time the observations were measured and recorded
  • Causing potential delays in the time it took for care teams to make clinical decisions

Implementing the solution – CareAware VitalsLink®

In 2015, Kingston Hospital successfully introduced Cerner VitalsLink devices into three wards: Acute Assessment Unit (AAU), Alexandra and Astor to assess the impact of the new solution, timings of patient observations were taken on two wards both pre and post implementation.

What benefits were achieved?

Before the introduction of VitalsLink, the average time taken per set of patient observations was 4:18 minutes. After the deployment of VitalsLink, the average time taken per set of observations was 2:49 minutes. This is a reduction of 31.4 percent, releasing 26 minutes per day per nurse (assuming nursing allocation is one per bay).

The workflow also became more streamlined, resulting in the elimination of four now unnecessary steps. Kingston’s nursing teams are saving over six hours per day on the wards where VitalsLink is in use. Once VitalsLink is rolled out to all adult inpatient beds in the hospital, there is a projected total saving of 252 nursing hours per week.

The data demonstrates that introducing VitalsLink releases time for direct patient care:

  • Average time taken to record patient observations reduced by 31.4 percent
  • Improved clinician workflow by decreasing documentation time by 60 percent
  • Improved accuracy by eliminating transcription errors
  • Improved access to up-to-date vital signs workflow process reduced by four steps

The device integration this facilitates eliminates duplicate recording, reduces errors, improves access to clinical data and releases crucial time that can be devoted to other areas of patient care.

“We now want this everywhere, it’s saving time and improving patient safety.”
— Duncan Burton, director of nursing and patient experience, Kingston Hospital NHS

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Client outcomes were achieved in respective settings and are not representative of benefits realized by all clients due to many variables, including solution scope, client capabilities and business and implementation models.