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Photos: How touchscreen tech helps a hospital keep tabs on patients

Just what the doctor ordered
By Nick Heath, Contributor on
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1 of 4 Nick Heath/ZDNET

Just what the doctor ordered

Walsall Manor Hospital is helping its doctors and nursing staff save time, thanks to a new system that tracks patients and beds.

The hospital has installed a Horizon Enterprise Visibility system, which pulls information from different hospital systems to show medical staff when beds are free, who is waiting to be discharged and when imaging and lab results and prescriptions are ready, and has already helped the hospital speed up the bed allocation process for planned admissions by up to three hours.

The system displays information on large LCD screens on the ward, shown here, which staff control through a touchscreen interface.

Photo credit: Walsall Hospitals NHS Trust

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2 of 4 Nick Heath/ZDNET

Here the system is displaying graphs showing the average length of stay, numbers of patients on the ward and being discharged.

In future, the hospital plans to use the system to track patients and equipment in the hospital by tagging them with RFID chips, with their movements displayed on the screen.

A number of NHS hospitals have already deployed RFID for tracking purposes, with the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley in Scotland using the tags to keep tabs on equipment and Mayday Healthcare Trust in Croydon having implemented barcodes and RFID technology for a blood-tracking pilot.

Photo credit: Walsall Hospitals NHS Trust

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3 of 4 Nick Heath/ZDNET

On average the system's creator, IT supplier McKesson, estimates that the system can save the equivalent of one hour per nurse per shift each day, by helping nurses avoid the average of between seven and 10 phone calls and three to four wasted logins to various computer systems per day.

Here the display shows the differing status of the beds on the hospital wards.

Photo credit: Walsall Hospitals NHS Trust

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4 of 4 Nick Heath/ZDNET

This bank of screens is displaying a variety of information on available beds and patient status.

Walsall Hospitals NHS Trust hopes that doctors will use the information from the screens to reduce their reliance on updates from nursing and support staff.

Photo credit: Walsall Hospitals NHS Trust

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