Two new technology-based ideas to give patients better care and treatment at Basildon University Hospital have been nominated for prestigious national awards.
Encouraging and supporting young mothers with breastfeeding is the aim of one new project, using a website, smartphone app and social media to give helpful information and share ideas and experiences.
The other innovative scheme simplifies the gathering of vital patient information for ward nurses, using at-a-glance electronic boards that combine all the notes from different hospital teams about people’s care and treatment.
Both projects have been nominated for efficiency awards by Health Service Journal, a leading healthcare publication. The winners will be announced in September.
When the maternity staff discovered that breastfeeding rates in the area were low, they began working to improve them. A team met a group of young mothers to try and understand the reasons they may not breastfeed, and to ask them how they would like to be given information and support.
As a result, the Trust created a new brand, Feeding Together, (pictured left) a breastfeeding website and smartphone app, and set up Twitter and Facebook accounts. The messages were presented in a simple, non-judgemental way, and costs were kept low by using families for photography and filming. The response from young mothers to Feeding Together has been very positive and the campaign has a growing number of followers on social media. Basildon University Hospital recently won Baby Friendly accreditation from the United Nations Children’s Fund, following an increase in breastfeeding rates.
The breastfeeding campaign was created by midwives Geraldine Purver and Lisette Harris, with support from Andy Ray, Acting Director of Finance.
The second award nomination is for electronic boards that give nurses more time to care for patients by cutting down the need to duplicate information on paper and noticeboards, and improve safety and efficiency by keeping it all in one place.
The new system includes information from a whole range of healthcare professionals, such as pharmacists, social services, therapists, specialist nurses and doctors. The boards also provide up to the minute information for bed managers, so that they can monitor patient admissions and length of stay in hospital and ensure people go home as soon as they are well enough.
The e-boards (see picture) were tested successfully on four wards, and are now being installed in all 16 adult inpatient wards at Basildon Hospital. Among the hospital staff using the e-boards, 79 per cent said they wanted to continue, and no one wanted to return to using paper and white boards.
The project was initiated by Diane Sarkar, Director of Nursing, and the e-board concept was created by Matt Ebdon, Assistant Director of Performance.
Clare Panniker, Chief Executive, said: "Providing excellent and safe care for our patients is at the heart of everything we do, and making good use of innovation and technology can really contribute to that. I am very pleased that these new ways of working at Basildon Hospital have been recognised with these nominations."