Digital Hospital of the Month: Royal Bolton Hospital

In this new series, Digital Health Age will pick a hospital every month to highlight the advancements and implementations of digital technology within healthcare institutions.

Taking April’s spot of Digital Hospital of the Month is Royal Bolton Hospital for its use of a digital communication system which allows the organisation to provide better care for patients at night.

The system, Patientrack, is being used to save time in coordinating crucial interventions for patients at night whilst also providing senior hospital real-time information on frontline pressures.

Nurses can use the system to quickly log when their patients need a doctor’s attention for a wide range of urgent and less urgent tasks. Patientrack immediately sends tasks raised at the bedside and accompanying information to Bolton’s hospital night team, where staff use the system to quickly allocate the task to an appropriate doctor, with a secure alert sent directly to the doctor’s mobile phone. This contains links to information about the location and condition of the patient, details about the action required, and a timeframe in which a response is needed.

This means nurses no longer have to spend time manually filling out task forms and doctors aren’t take away from treating patients to respond to alerts.

Dr Simon Irving, acute physician and chief clinical information officer at Bolton NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Patientrack is helping to ensure doctors don’t become overwhelmed trying to find a phone or a PC, when they need to remain with a patient, and has removed the need for nurses to manually bleep only to wait for a response.

“Previously when doctors were bleeped they would not have access to the reason without logging on to a terminal. Now doctors working at night can accept, complete, and even reject when necessary, tasks assigned to them directly on their mobile phone, where they can review information without breaking them from their current task. We can also specify a minimum level of doctor to complete a task, boosting patient safety. The process is much more effective.”

The system is also allowing the hospital to figure out if additional resources are needed at night and at around busy periods. Anne-Marie Redford, informatics project manager at Bolton NHS Foundation trust said: “We are now starting to monitor response times around the hospital to figure out where additional resources are needed at night and at weekends. Previously a doctor might be asked to do several things whilst on a ward, without those tasks being logged on the system. Now we will get a truer reflection of what is happening on the wards than ever before – visibility of the hard work taking place that wasn’t previously recorded.”

Donald Kennedy, managing director at Patientrack, said: “Bolton’s determination to rollout technology quickly to support the hospital’s patient safety ambitions is admirable. The trust has become the first in the country to use Patientrack solely to tackle challenges that come with delivering care in the hospital at night. We look forward to continuing to work with the trust to respond to further frontline demands in the future.”


Reece Armstrong is a reporter for Digital Health Age, Medical Plastics News, European Pharmaceutical Magazine and Med-Tech Innovation. He has a MA in Media & Journalism and a BA in Popular & Contemporary Music from Newcastle University. His interests include health, technology, videogames and he is a keen performer of live original music. He can be contacted at

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