Chester hospital to trial new tracking technology

The Countess of Chester Hospital in Chester is to be the UK’s first hospital to trial new tracking technology to manage its beds, patients, staff, and equipment more efficiently, with the installation of over 4,000 infra-red sensors from US supplier, TeleTracking Technologies, above hospital beds and doorways.

The TeleTracking sensors – which read from small tracking devices on patients, staff, and equipment – will provide realtime information for ‘live’ ward electronic bed boards and a centralised Care Coordination Centre to support staff in getting patients into the right beds quickly. The technology also automates workflows, certain domestic duties, and discharge processes. Work is expected to begin on implementing the technology over the next 2-3 months. The Countess of Chester NHS Foundation Trust, in partnership with TeleTracking Technologies, will become the ‘national learning site’ for NHS Improvement, supporting Patient Flow Software Implementation as part of the National Elective Care Plan recommendations.  

The Model Hospital programme will partner with TeleTracking Technologies and the Trust’s  own Model Hospital team on the installation and deployment. NHS Improvement is establishing a National Working Group across Patient Flow Software Implementation Pilots, who will share progress and benefits from these systems, and best practices, for fellow Trusts. 

Tony Chambers, Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust CEO, said: “We’ve spent the last year delivering an efficiency programme based on Lord Carter’s recommendations, placing a greater emphasis on using transparency of data to inform decision-making that benefits patients. We see this as a flagship project in turning around our approach to patient flow, and providing faster, safer care by increasing the responsiveness of our NHS workforce. The visibility of this data will put a stop to nurses wasting valuable time searching for equipment, and limit duplication of efforts in clinical admission staff repeatedly chasing updates on patient status to understand bed availability. 

“If we can reduce stay length for each and every patient by just a few hours it gives us an additional 20 beds a day – much-needed capacity delivered through more efficient working, instead of spending.” 

The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust has used TeleTracking’s Real-Time Locating System technology and Capacity Management Suite solution to optimise patient throughput at its New Cross Hospital since April 2015, having used the same supplier’s technology to improve handwashing compliance for a year prior to this. Key benefits seen to date have included the ability to make beds available to new patients in under 35 minutes, and to locate tagged assets in 25 seconds. 

The photo shows the Transfer and Communications Centre at US user of a TeleTracking Technologies system, the Carilion Clinic in Roanoake, Virginia.