BGH digital pilot goes nationwide

Dr Hamish McRitchie
Dr Hamish McRitchie

A scheme piloted at Borders General Hospital , with the aim of tracking patients digitally, is to be rolled out to hospitals across Scotland.

The new digital patient trackers display a virtual map of the hospital ward on a large touch-screen. Patient details can be accessed by touching each patient ‘icon’ and free beds can be marked and allocated right away.

This means staff can act quickly to treat or transfer a patient and allows whole system working, easing pressure on A&E departments.

In NHS Borders initial results indicate that the digital ward at the Medical Assessment Unit has the potential to reduce patients’ average length of stay in hospital.

Dr Hamish McRitchie of Borders General Hospital explained: “As associate medical director, I know that from the Medical Assessment Unit we can see what is going on in the whole hospital. The board round that takes place in the Medical Assessment Unit means every patient in that ward is reviewed by every member of the multidisciplinary team, every day.

“Our ‘bedbuster’ system helps to prevent patients staying in hospital longer than they need to and makes sure that our beds are used effectively.

“We don’t want anyone to be in the wrong ward, or in hospital longer than they need to be - and neither do our patients!”

Health Secretary Alex Neil added: “This secure new technology will improve how quickly people are treated in our hospitals and how quickly we can get them back at home. I want all boards to have an electronic system in place.”

The innovation is part of a plan to transform emergency care for patients nationwide.