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NHS discharge disruption: Why technology can take pressure off healthcare staff

by Leah Llano

Doctors have warned that patients who are discharged from hospital without social care packages could be at risk of further illness at home.

Rejecting Welsh government guidance on discharging people from hospitals, The British Medical Association claims any decision to discharge patients from wards without proper social care support would ‘transfer the liability and risk to clinicians’.

With current nursing strikes, there is a limited number of healthcare workers available to provide patients with these social care packages, putting further pressure on the NHS.

Craig Rainford, Project Manager at Radar Healthcarestrongly believes that implementing the right technology can help alleviate this added pressure and provide patients with the right amount of care.

“Social and care professionals are currently under a lot of pressure, and keeping on top of admin and patient care can be overwhelming for healthcare professionals working extremely long hours.

“When discharged from a hospital, a patient is to collect or receive their hospital discharge letter and be provided with the right medication depending on their condition. If discharged to a care home, the home should be told the date and time of the discharge, and have a copy of the care plan.

“However, this process isn’t always streamlined and often admin which has to be completed by healthcare workers can take away the hours that could be spent physically caring for the patient.

“I strongly believe that implementing the right technology in a healthcare setting can help improve administration processes and allow healthcare workers more time to physically care for their patients as opposed to completing admin.”

Craig Rainford, also a former Operations Systems Manager at Four Seasons Health Care Group spent 20 years implementing software for healthcare professionals.

“Four Seasons Health Care Group holds contracts with the NHS where a number of beds in specific services are reserved for patients requiring Intermediate Care.

“However, they required a solution that supported their Intermediate Care Framework (ICF) function, something that integrates national policy with key NICE guidelines to help incorporate best practice guidance for healthcare workers to provide their patients with ‘outstanding’ care.

“Partnering with Radar Healthcare in May 2020, the provider replaced three of their systems with one to further streamline their processes and provide patients with the best possible care when they are discharged from a hospital.

“Reports have revealed that almost a quarter of hospitals still use paper records and those which have switched to IT systems have no standard system – with almost two dozen different systems being used.

“Therefore, implementing an integrated system gives companies the ability to transform unreliable processes and inconsistent communications into a streamlined and centralised approach, revolutionising how they provide care, boost productivity, and take added pressure off NHS healthcare workers.”

Below, Craig shares some key reasons why technology will enhance and further streamline healthcare settings:

  1. Increases patient and resident satisfaction – more time caring

80% of care home residents believe that if they could spend more time socialising with their carers, their mental health problems could be alleviated however, many of them understand and see their strenuous workload as a social barrier.

Investing in reliable healthcare software reduces the amount of time spent on admin, aligns communication methods between all parties, and helps healthcare workers in managing and organising their tasks and data, giving them more time to spend with patients and residents.

  1. Improves workforce compliance 

By showing regulatory bodies all documentation in one place, it makes workforce compliance much more streamlined.

It also provides full visibility of performance anytime a worker needs it from the digitisation of manual processes to delivering operational efficiencies.

  1. Creates a culture of accountability and responsibility

When healthcare organisations hold themselves and their employees accountable, they can learn from mistakes and continue to improve operations and climb the career ladder.

It also helps to identify where things have gone wrong and perhaps solve the problem before it gradually gets worse.

  1. Integrates risk management

New technology is revolutionising risk management, helping to reduce safety risks. Software that offers one central risk register which is linked to incidents, improvement plans, reporting etc can help reduce any risks to healthcare workers and patients.

Furthermore, having robust auditing functionality helps to mitigate further incidents, excellence reporting reveals success stories and best practices.

  1. Responds and keeps on track with change

The digital world is evolving, therefore so should its essential public sectors.

Digital technology is flexible enough to adapt to what an organisation needs – no matter how it evolves. Therefore the right software is able to respond to the latest technological innovations to keep developing new and useful options to support healthcare teams. This means it is future-proofing the organisation and can evolve as they do.

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