How Technology Could Aid Medical Bed Tracking
The issue of bed space within hospitals has been an ongoing concern for the NHS. Various reports have analysed the impact of bed shortages and how they affect hospital wards. Solutions are desperately needed to ensure patients can get the healthcare they deserve, while also making sure that hospital staff can work responsibly. One of the ways that the NHS is looking at medical bed tracking is through the use of technology. Could fitness-style trackers be the solution for the current bed crisis?
What is medical bed tracking?
Medical bed tracking is the process of locating empty beds within hospitals to determine which ones are free for new patients. As well as tracking vacant beds, the process also helps to locate patients so that the medical team know where they are at all times.
However, many methods for bed tracking are outdated or no longer fit for purpose. Often managed by people, it’s a manual, time-consuming process which can lead to errors. The need for the use of technology in bed tracking is growing, not just for the checks needed for beds, but also the equipment that accompanies the beds. Through more effective bed tracking, patients can expect faster services and reduce their risk of developing a HAI (healthcare acquired infection).
Using technology to track medical beds
The idea of using technology for medical bed tracking is nothing new. Back in 2013, UK hospitals were looking at American methods of bed tracking as a way to ensure better management of beds in the NHS.
Now, five NHS providers will be trialling new bed tracking technology. It uses electronic bracelets and badges that are given to patients and attached to beds and equipment. This will help to provide greater visibility and provide staff with up-to-date information on current bed occupation levels. The technology, named TeleTracking, has already been used by the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust, where patients are now three times more likely to be directed to a bed that meets their ongoing needs. The result is a 60% drop in surgery cancellations due to a lack of beds.
The technology has also made improvements to the bed cleaning system. It ensures that the right staff are responsible for changing and cleaning beds and frees up nursing time. Patients are also benefiting from reduced stays in hospital due to improved planning.
With more hospitals set to pilot the technology, the move could signal a big shift in the way hospitals approach bed management.
Are medical bed trackers the right solution for NHS staff?
Medical bed tracking could be the solution needed to simplify processes and free up precious staff time. Doctors, nurses and other medical staff are already feeling the strain of staff and bed shortages. Therefore, finding technological solutions to these issues could help ease pressures and create a safer, more positive working environment. Bed tracking technology, as well as other forms of technology in healthcare, could transform the NHS and provide patients with the services that best fit their needs.
If you’re interested in reading more about the latest health news and information, take a look at our articles on the EBPCOOH blog. We post regularly about recent developments in the healthcare industry, as well as providing details of the latest out of hours roles in East Berkshire.