New wi-fi hand hygiene monitoring system

Ekahau Inc., the worldwide leader in high performance Wi-Fi-based Real Time Location Systems (RTLS), announced that it is introducing a Wi-Fi Hand Hygiene Monitoring solution that automatically monitors hand hygiene of employees in the healthcare facilities to prevent the spread of hospital acquired infections and other transmittable diseases.

wi-fi hand hygiene monitor
wi-fi hand hygiene monitor

The hand hygiene solution combines Ekahau location-enabled staff badges and Ekahau beacons that are embedded into GOJO’s SmartLink™ Series Dispensers located throughout a hospital. The staff badges – which also are commonly used for staff messaging, workflow and safety applications – enable the RTLS system to automatically monitor staff-patient interactions, as well as when the staff member washes his or her hands before and after interacting with a patient in order to calculate compliance based on hospital policy. By leveraging the two-way communications capabilities of the Ekahau RTLS system, staff members can receive reminders and status information on the text display of their badges to help improve hand hygiene compliance. To ensure full compliance, the Ekahau transmitters that are integrated into the dispensers will only be activated when hands are sanitized, eliminating any false information from being collected.

Hand Hygiene Monitoring solution
The Hand Hygiene Monitoring solution consists of these components

“Hand hygiene is a significant concern, particularly in the healthcare market where, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, hospital acquired infections add more than $30 billion to annual healthcare costs and result in almost 100,000 deaths,” said Tuomo Rutanen, senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing and Business Development at Ekahau. “We believe that Ekahau’s real-time location tracking technology – which is already in use at more than 300 hospitals worldwide and works over the customer’s existing Wi-Fi networks – has been integrated with GOJO hand sanitizing units to provide hospitals a way to ensure staff is compliant with hand washing procedures.”

”Today, most healthcare institutions still go through a manual observation method to collect and report hand hygiene compliance rates. This manual observation method typically requires significant cost and effort, but rarely yields timely and accurate information on hand hygiene compliance,” said Dave Mackay, Healthcare vice president at GOJO Industries. ”When you consider the potential for Ekahau’s real-time location tracking technology, enabled by GOJO’s touch-free dispensing systems, to deliver real-time hand hygiene monitoring at an individual care level, it’s exciting to think about the difference this could make for infection control.”

Read more about this new wi-fi hand hygiene monitor

or at the Ekahau company website

Scots bed-blocking figure increases

Delayed discharges from Scottish hospitals are on the increase, according to new figures.

Bed blocking
Delayed discharges from Scottish hospitals are on the increase, according to new figures

Official statistics show there were 168 patients waiting six weeks or more to be discharged in January. This compares to 128 at the October census, and 83 in January 2010.

Delayed discharges, or “bed-blocking”, occur in most cases when patients are unable to leave hospital because they are waiting for care arrangements to be put in place.

Overall, there were a total of 790 delayed discharges in Scotland in the latest round of statistics, compared with 776 at the October 2010 census, and 606 in January last year.

The latest figures have prompted renewed calls for the Scottish Government to take further action.

Theresa Fyffe, director of the Royal College of Nursing Scotland, said: “Politicians claim the NHS budget is being protected from cuts. But if local councils are struggling to make ends meet, this can result in delays in making care home places available.

“As a result people who are well enough to be in a homely setting end up staying in hospital wards for no good reason. This is not good for patients and increases the financial pressures on the NHS. Unnecessary hospital stays are not dignified and benefit no one. This upward trend in delayed discharges must be reversed to make patient care better for all.”

Read the rest of the article on bed-blocking

Read the ISD Report on Delayed Discharges in NHS Scotland

Australia tests Scottish ideas on remote health care

Ideas on delivering health care in remote and rural communities in Scotland have been tested in Australia.

NHS Highland
The team behind the project are in the running for a UK-wide award

The two-year Remote Service Futures Project has been completed by the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) and NHS Highland.

It looked at how communities could be involved in planning their health services.

The project’s suggestions on best practice have already been run as a trial in Australia, UHI said.

UHI and NHS Highland staff investigated the challenges facing rural heath care including staff recruitment and travelling times and costs for patients, families, carers and health professionals.

Their work has attracted international interest from academics and governments.

It has also been short-listed for a UK-wide award.

Article on BBC

Unprecedented call for shake-up of health service in Scotland

HELEN PUTTICK  HEALTH CORRESPONDENT

18 Feb 2011

SENIOR health service staff are calling for a radical shake-up of hospital services and a rethink of waiting time targets as budget cuts bite.

theatre
Calls for a shake-up of Scotland's hospitals as departments face axe under proposals

In a hard-hitting report being sent to Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon, senior managers with NHS Scotland say some hospital departments, including A&E, should be axed and other services centralised.

The unprecedented document lists a range of specialist treatments – including head injury care and organ transplants – which they say many managers and clinicians believe should be offered on fewer sites.

It demands an urgent review of the strategy to cut waiting times, revealing some senior officials believe the drive to slash the delay between GP referral and hospital treatment to 18 weeks this year will cost a lot without achieving much.

Screening men for a deadly weakness in the artery wall – which was due to be introduced this year – should also be reconsidered, according to the managers.

They stress changes are needed in order to avoid compulsory redundancies, pointing out recruitment freezes and reducing staff numbers through natural wastage will not deliver the shake-up required on their own.

It is rare for top NHS staff to say anything in public that might be seen as criticising ministers. However, the Institute of Healthcare Management (IHM) Scotland, which represents 90% of chief executives in the Scottish health service, has produced the report amid concern that people do not realise how tight NHS finances will become because politicians talk about “protecting” the health budget.

Rising expenses, including an annual hike of around 10% in the cost of prescription drugs and growing demand from an ageing population, mean health boards are facing real-terms budget cuts.

The report, which has already been sent to Derek Feeley, acting chief executive of NHS Scotland, says: “All of this will mean changes to the way the NHS operates on an unprecedented scale.”

Reconfiguring hospital services is repeatedly mentioned in the report, which notes consultants are concerned some specialist services do not treat enough patients or attract enough staff to meet quality and safety standards.

Martin Hill, secretary of IHM Scotland, said the way medicine was delivered had changed. He said some patients, such as the elderly, were being cared for at home more regularly, and that medical advances were making some forms of treatment highly specialised.

Click this link to find out more about the IHM in Scotland

Read the rest of this article HERE

The full text of the key paper Getting into Shape click the link below  [mc id=”775″ type=”file”]Getting into Shape [/mc]


Scottish Government issues guidance to boards on establishing banks of medical staff.

Doctors

A nursing bank has already saved millions of pounds in agency costs

Doctor banks aim to cut NHS Scotland costs

A nursing bank has already saved millions of pounds in agency costs

A system of doctor banks is to be introduced in Scotland in an effort to cut the amount spent on agency staff.

Guidance has been sent to Scotland’s health boards detailing the steps they need to take to cut down on the level of agencies covering doctors’ shifts.

Under the plans, NHS-recruited doctors would be used to supplement staffing rotas where needed.

A similar scheme for nurses cut spending on agency staff from £30m in 2003-04 to £8.2m in 2009-10.

The NHS nursing banks provide an internal pool of staff who can be called on at short notice to cover both planned and unplanned absences.

Spending on agency locum doctors increased in Scotland from about £18m in 2006-07 to £36m in 2009-10.

A spokesman for NHS Scotland said agency doctors could cost up to £104 an hour, compared with £11 an hour for internal staff.

Read more on Doctors banks here

Ninewells Hospital introduces computers on wheels (“COWs”) for staff

Computers moove with the times at Ninewells Hospital

Two COWs caused quite a “steer” when they appeared on a Ninewells Hospital ward on Tuesday.

Computers on wheels
Staff nurse Jemma Williamson wheels one of the new computers into a bay on ward 22.
  • By Marjory Inglis
  • Published in the Courier : 09.02.11

The computers on wheels (COWs) will allow medical staff to check laboratory results and X-rays at patients’ bedsides and add notes to medical records.

The first two COWs were introduced to ward 22, the hospital’s renal unit, but a whole herd will be in place soon.

Read more of this article about Computers on Wheels

NHS could save up to £1 billion by embracing high-tech monitoring of chronic sick, says new report

  • Remote capture of health information from the home can save NHS millions and improve quality of life for people with long-term chronic conditions, says new report “Healthcare without walls – a framework for delivering telehealth at scale.”
  • Urgent government action needed to put in place a national strategy.

The explosive growth in the number of people with long term conditions (LTCs), such as diabetes, heart disease and lung disease, could overwhelm NHS resources, according to a new report to be published on 24th November. The report by the think tank 2020health.org warns that the current NHS approach to delivering care to people with LTCs is unsustainable both in terms of cost and quality, and in no one’s best interests – least of all the patients and their carers.

The report will be launched by former Health Secretary Rt Hon Stephen Dorrell MP, chairman of the Commons health select committee, at 6 pm on Wednesday November 24 at St Stephen’s Club, Westminster, London.

The scale of the problem is immense, according to the report:

  • A rise of 23 percent in LTC patients will occur over the next 25 years
  • LTC patients account for 31 percent of the population, 52 percent of all GP appointments and 65 percent of all outpatient appointments
  • Three out of every five people aged over 60 in England have a LTC and it is not just the elderly who are suffering from chronic disease. Many of the young obese could develop diabetes, heart disease and arthritis among other things in their 30’s.

The report demands urgent Ministerial support to facilitate the use of the remote capture and relay of health information from the home for clinical review and early intervention. Julia Manning, Director of 2020health.org, says:

“Properly implemented this is a prescription for the next generation and would easily save the NHS up to £1 billion.

“If things are left as they are now, however, the pressure that the LTCs put on the NHS and social care could overwhelm it. Doing nothing is not an option. Government needs to grasp this nettle and make enabling telehealth a national priority now.

“If we get this right now, we can improve the quality and affordability of patient care for the next generation.

“Implemented effectively, the remote capture of information from patient in the home, distance learning and consultations can all improve the patient’s care and quality of life by reducing the need for appointments and emergency admissions to hospital. It also means nurses’ and GPs’ time can be focused on genuine needs instead of taking routine measurements.”

With no complex technology, the telehealth care devices are installed in the patient’s home and typically connect to their telephone line or broadband service so that the data collected can be sent to a central monitoring centre.

The patient uses the system and accompanying device (e.g. digital thermometer, weighing scales, blood pressure cuff, pulse reader) to take readings such as blood pressure or oxygen levels which are sent automatically. If the readings show any signs of the patient’s condition deteriorating, a doctor or nurse is alerted to contact the patient.

Based on a thorough analysis of the relevant evidence, John Cruickshank, the report’s author and independent health IT expert, calls on the Government to recognise the key specific recommendations so the NHS can best exploit the transformational potential of telehealth:

The key recommendations are:

  1. Amend tariffs/incentive schemes to recognise and reward telehealth- and teleconsultation-enabled services on a consistent basis across the NHS
  2. Create improved public awareness around telehealth and its ability to enable better self-care – leading to systemic improvements across health and social care.
  3. Establish a national framework of support and expertise in telehealth to share best practice

2020health calls on the Government to act on the recognition that face-to-face services are under significant pressure – even before taking into account the financial challenges of the years ahead –and is reason enough to promote less resource intensive ways of delivering high quality evidence-based chronic disease management.

This follows a Department of Health acknowledgement in 2009 that “Transforming the care and lives of those with long term conditions and delivering truly integrated, efficient and people-centred community services has the potential to improve the quality of millions of people’s lives.”

The last government sponsored three large “whole system demonstrators” with a view to gathering robust evidence and learning lessons for implementing telehealth at scale.
And in many ways the latest health White Paper creates the environment in which the demand for telehealth-enabled services can be fostered. Yet there is a prevailing view that initiatives such as this can be left to the market to sort out and action is limited, according to the 2020Health.org report.

“While there are over 100 telehealth projects around the NHS, there are estimated to be less than 10,000 patient units deployed. The majority of these projects are small-scale, many are known not to be well integrated into healthcare systems. The need to build on successful pilots to create scaled up projects is crucial,” Mr Cruickshank says.

“To enable these ‘tele’ technologies to make a dramatic impact in terms of patients’ quality of life, and the NHS’s capacity to cope with the ever-increasing numbers of cases and in the associated economic costs, the government must adopt a firm strategic leadership for telehealth at scale,” he adds.

“With our national finances now severely constrained and for the foreseeable future, the current, largely reactive approach to chronic condition management is unsustainable. Telehealth should sit as a part of a nationally recommended suite of enablers that if integrated through local business change and service delivery, will underpin the transformation outlined in the NHS White Paper.”

Examples:
From over-the-phone patient consultations and coaching to:

  • real-time audiovisual conferencing system that allows specialists in stroke care to remotely assess patients and to view their CT brain scan images
  • simple video conferencing between at home patient and case manager
  • through-the-TV technology to send messages and reminders or have a consultation
  • text messaging: medication reminders; appointment reminders; blood monitoring reminders; physical health monitoring; behavioural change; social inclusion; ‘feel good’ messages
  • in-home vital signs data collection of blood pressure, blood glucose, oxygen levels, weight or body images and transfer to professional for evaluation or automatic assessment
  • in-bed sensors that detect changes in pulse and breathing
  • implants such as pacemakers and insulin pumps from which readings can be collected remotely

Resulting in:
Reduced service utilisation costs including primary care attendance, A&E attendances, outpatient attendances and acute admissions, improved quality of life for patients and carers.

The report was supported by the following eight organisations – Accenture, BT, isoft, Medtronic, Pfizer Health Solutions, Tunstall, TPP and Vodafone.