Digital doctors’ notes improve patient safety at Havering hospital

Doctors are infamous for their illegible scrawls.

But now Havering’s hospital trust has won a national award for for making sure this does not compromise safety or time.

A new computer system ensures that the handover of patients’ care between shifts and specialties runs smoothly, and that no critical information is lost.

Until now, transfers of care has relied on a hasty briefing or hand-written notes.

But the eHandover system - developed by Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals Trust, which runs Queen’s Hospital in Rom Valley Way, Romford, and King George Hospital, in Goodmayes - includes a huge range of materials for doctors such as centralising key patient information, and identifying critical patients with actions clearly allocated to a specific clinician.

The trust has piloted the system at both hospitals for just over a year.

In that time, more than 25,000 handovers have been logged by more than 400 different doctors.

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The system was officially launched in the UK at a national conference in June.

This week, it was named by E-Health Insider as the winner of the national award for the Best Use of IT to Promote Patient Safety.

The trust’s Chief Executive, Averil Dongworth, said: “We take the safety of our patients extremely seriously, and the important work that has been done here can now be used to help others in the NHS.”

Clnincal Director for Acute Medicine, Dr Aklak Choudhury, helped to develop the system.

He said: “We are very pleased and excited that the eHandover solution won the patient safety category. Clinical risks associated with patient handover should be at the forefront of everybody’s minds. The eHandover solution is the first to identify and successfully manage the shift gap issue which can result in significant communication failure and patient risk.

“We are all very excited about eHandover. It has the potential to standardise handover across hospital trusts in the U.K.”

The trust was presented with its gong by comedian Sean Lock at E-Health Insider’s awards ceremony.