HOSPITAL PIONEERS EARLY-WARNING SYSTEM
A PIONEERING early warning system on wards at Ysbyty Gwynedd is helping to save the lives of patients.
The electronic system alerts nurses and doctors to sudden changes in a patient’s condition by monitoring their vital signs, such as heart and respiratory rates.
The system is being trialled across two wards at Ysbyty Gwynedd and has been developed from the National Early Warning Score (NEWS), which was brought in across Wales in 2012 to assess whether patients are developing potentially life-threatening illnesses.
Staff measure a patient’s vital signs against the NEWS card before giving them a score, which is now automatically captured and displayed on the large plasma screen on the ward.
If the patient’s score rises, it prompts staff to intervene and the system will also page rapid response teams in the most serious cases.
Consultant Physician Dr Chris Subbe, co-author of the VITAL II study, said: “The VITAL II study is a study we undertook with Philips Healthcare. The contact came after Phillips started using an algorithm that we developed in 2000 which is called an ‘early warning score’. They began to become very interested in how they could put that into the monitoring that they are developing.”
“Patients and families probably notice very little.
“The system uses our normal workflows so it meant we didn’t have to do that much extra training and the nurses and doctors are using it the same way they would normally use it.
“It doesn’t make much difference to the way patients are experiencing care but, in the background, we are able to deliver much more reliable treatment.”
Consultant Physician Dr Chris Subbe, co-author of the VITAL II study