NHS trust calls on local university to help its paper-free ambitions

An NHS trust and a university have come together to transform the way clinical audits are carried out – helping improve patient care.

A doctor in training stood in a ward with the new tablet for paper free auditingStudents from Teesside University are helping change one of the roles of staff at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust.

Every year, the organisation carries out around 200 clinical audits, helping keep care in line with local and national standards.

The trust has traditionally recorded this on paper – but is now using electronic ways of carrying this out.

Four teams of students have created several different versions of a mobile App which staff can quickly and easily use for audits.

Terry Holdcroft, clinical effectiveness manager, said: “Audits are an important responsibility for all clinical staff.

“They ensure we are in line with national and local guidelines, highlight where we are doing well and where there could be improvements.

“In the past, this has been recorded in a manual way on paper.

“This takes a significant amount of time. We are now using electronic methods but these are not perfect and are reliant on access to desktop computers . This isn’t always easy for clinical staff – computers aren’t always readily available at all hours of the day and night, especially on the clinical wards.

“What we have challenged students to do is create an App to allow staff to audit conveniently and quickly.”

The teams from the university came up with proposals put forward to a judging panel from the Trust this week.

The smokefree advisor doing a clinical audit on the tablet deviceTerry added: “All of the ideas gave the judges some ideas – from these we will decide what prototypes could be develop further.

“It’s an idea which will mean our staff – particularly our doctors in training who carry out 80 per cent of our audits – can carry out these tasks with minimal issues.

“I want to thank all of the students and lecturers involved for their input and commitment.”

Professor Graham Evans, chief information and technology officer, said: “The plan to work with Teesside University really was a fantastic one.

“Not only do we of course get the expertise we need but final year students also get the valuable experience working with an NHS trust.

“We now several ideas we think will help us to transform the way we carry out audits.

“The challenge now is for us to work out how we can deliver that internally, working with the ICT team and a host of other support staff.

“The grand plan would be – working with our innovations team at NTH Solutions to create a model we can share with other health trusts across the country.”



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