How Digitisation Can Help Transform ICU

How Digitisation Can Help Transform ICU

Posted Nov 19, 2021 from

The Covid-19 pandemic showed just how invaluable access to near-real time patient data can be and in response, Digital Health and Care Wales announced the establishment of a project that will bring a national critical care information system to Wales’ ICUs. Professor Tamas Szakmany is the project’s clinical lead and he explains why digitising ICU provides clinicians with a ‘single source of electronic truth’. The objective was, and remains, to roll out a national critical care information system that will enable intensive care unit (ICU) staff to manage many more aspects of patient care electronically and support the standardisation of care pathways across Wales. News regarding the development of this system wasn’t just welcome because it spelled an end to an antiquated paper-based system that was laborious, but also because it offers the chance to transform workflows, make clinicians’ lives easier and ultimately improve patient care. Using a stopwatch to record times, I estimated that by replacing paper records of hourly patient observations with a digital system, approximately two minutes in every hour of a nurse’s time could be saved simply by eliminating duplication. Especially in ICU, having accessible, shareable patient data and records that can be immediately used in clinical decision making and analysis can be lifesaving. An example of the need for a ‘single source of truth’ can be found in something as seemingly trivial as how a patient’s weight is recorded.

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