‘Paperless’ hospital achieves stage six on HIMSS scale

Chase Farm Hospital (CFH) in London – the UK’s first new-build ‘paperless’ hospital – has achieved stage six in the Electronic Medical Record Adoption Model (EMRAM), one of only three hospitals in the UK to reach this level of ‘paperless’ maturity by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS)

The hospital, part of the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust, has been credited with improving clinical safety and reducing admin, releasing more time for patient care, thanks to joined-up technology from Ascom UK.

The new hospital has a nurse call system, co-designed by nurses with Ascom, integrated with the company’s Myco smartphones, to connect them to patients, colleagues and other technology across the hospital.

Some of the results seen so far include:

  • Virtual safety huddles – wards saving up to 45 minutes a day by doing them ‘virtually’, in 30 seconds, via group texting on smartphones. Shared information is recorded for use at any time.
  • Nurses saving up to 30 minutes a day each on audits, previously done manually, but now digitally via the Perfect Ward smartphone app. Nurses can view and send audits at the touch of a button.
  • Theatre recovery throughput – saving up to 15 minutes per patient (average 30 procedures a day) in moving through recovery and back to the wards.
  • Bed turnaround time – up to 40 minutes per bed saved using domestic clinical workflow button, which ensures staff arrive more quickly.
  • Patients are more ‘visible’ to staff via speech software and monitoring of integrated medical devices from anywhere in the hospital.

Leading the project was CFH chief executive and director of nursing, Natalie Forrest. She said: “Crucially, the technology development work was done by clinicians instead of to clinicians. It meant we had genuine engagement with nurses and other stakeholders as we carefully planned the hospital from the start – taking in the views of estates, IT, domestic staff, porters, admin, allied health and medical staff.

“With 42 single rooms we faced the challenge of making the ‘invisible’ patient visible and addressing our nurses’ key concern: that they might miss a serious clinical issue while attending to other tasks away from the patient. The nurse call system linked to smartphones ensures they can contact anyone including patients directly and know what’s going on in their clinical area, even when they are elsewhere.

“The hospital was delivered on target and within budget – a tremendous achievement of which the entire team is very proud.”

Managing director Paul Lawrence added: “We are very proud to have worked closely with clinical staff at Chase Farm Hospital on this project, which is an exemplar for the rest of the NHS. It has proved that the greatest success in IT comes from asking clinicians what they need to do their job better, and then ensuring you do whatever it takes to fully integrate it across the workplace.”


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