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Innovative SafeHands System Scoops National Award for Improving Patient Safety

Innovative SafeHands System Scoops National Award for Improving Patient Safety

Date of release: Monday 21st July, 2014


The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust has been announced as winner in the Technology to Improve Patient Safety category at the inaugural Patient Safety and Care Awards 2014 for its use of Safehands technology to improve patient safety.

More than 1,000 senior healthcare managers, directors and practitioners gathered at the Grosvenor House, Park Lane, London on the evening of July 15 to recognise individuals and organisations who have created or contributed to excellent initiatives that are driving the quality, effectiveness and safety agenda at the same time.

The judging panel was overwhelmed by the quantity and quality of the entries for the awards. Those who won or made the shortlist have proven that they are at the very top of their profession.

Safehands is a Department of Health part-funded innovation project using real-time locating system (RTLS) hardware and software to improve patient safety.

It uses infra-red and radio-frequency technology to pinpoint patient, staff and equipment locations as well as automatically monitoring hand hygiene events at the patient bedside.

It is believed that The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust is the only NHS hospital to have a true and automated real time system, and is one of the biggest implementations of its kind in the world.

The Safehands team has installed more than 4,000 infra-red beacons and virtual walls in the 720-bed hospital. This allows certainty-based tracking of badges down to bed level in multi-bed bays. The Trust has also marked out corridors and non-patient areas to give whole site coverage.

Additionally, The Trust has also distributed 4,000 badges to all its clinical staff, and all inpatients are badged on admission to automate audible and visual alerts where patients have not been checked on or are leaving the ward unaccompanied.

The system shows patients’ current locations on a large display screen on every ward so staff always know where every patient is at all times. It also highlights staff-patient interactions in real time.

Staff can call for assistance from colleagues using a button on the staff badge, triggering an audible alarm and message showing who requires help, and their location.

Safehands Programme Manager Clare Nash said: “We’re delighted our pioneering technological system, which helps us keep patients safe, has won this accolade.

“It’s the biggest of its kind in any hospital in the world and is a revolutionary step forward in health care. Every time equipment is moved, a patient leaves a ward, or a staff member washes their hands, the system knows.

“It also makes the hospital more efficient because there is no longer a need to walk around looking for equipment or checking if tasks have been done. This gives carers more time to spend with patients.”

The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust Chief Nurse Cheryl Etches said: “I now have access to so much information about patient safety and experience issues. The potential this system offers is phenomenal and can fundamentally underpin the operating framework of our organisation.”

Jenni Middleton, Editor of the Nursing Times, joint organisers of the awards evening with the Health Service Journal (HSJ), said: “Those organisations shortlisted here tonight have listened to the feedback of service users and patients, thought about where they could make improvements that will have dramatic benefits to patient outcomes, and transformed the way they deliver care.

“But what separates them from their peers is that they have done so with the involvement of every single member of the team."

For further information about Safehands contact Clare Nash on 01902 307999.
For more details about the awards contact Sarah Kemp on 020 7516 5059.

Press release issued by the Communications team. For more information contact the team on 01902 695884
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