Hi-tech projects boost hospital's patient safety agenda

Laser wristbands and electronic blood tracking are just two of the advanced new projects helping to improve patient safety at Southampton’s teaching hospitals.

As part of National Patient Safety Week, which starts today (Monday 21st September), staff across Southampton University Hospitals NHS Trust will spend time assessing the innovations ahead of pilots that will begin next month.

The wristbands, which are self-laminating to protect against damage from fluids, are printed directly from admission data and worn throughout a patient’s hospital stay.

The bands will play a major role in the introduction of electronic blood tracking, as patients due to receive a blood transfusion will have their band scanned to ensure the correct blood is administered, removing the possibility of human error.

The blood tracking system, which will see blood dispensing refrigerators stationed throughout the hospital, will enable authorised clinical staff to bypass the blood bank cross-matching procedure and collect blood products from these locations provided the patient's blood group and antibody status have been checked on a previous sample.

In addition to these new hi-tech advances, the pharmacy department will give staff a chance to find out more about their state-of-the-art dispensing robot, which is one of the largest, busiest and most complex systems in the country.

The robot collects medicines quickly and accurately from its stock and collates them – either as stock for the ward or for an individual patient – saving time and storage space, ensuring stock rotation and freeing up more staff time for concentration on the clinical aspects of patient care.

Judy Gillow, director of nursing, said: “The safety of our patients is one of our top priorities and we are taking the opportunity to showcase some of the advances in technology at the Trust which are helping us improve safety standards even further.”

Posted on Monday 21 September 2009