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During the past 12 months, the Electronic Patient Record (EPR) Clinical Content team at University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust (UHMBT) have developed and rolled out the Digital Nursing Record across the three main hospital sites.

As a result, almost 90,000 electronic notes were recorded by nurses in June.

In addition, at both Furness General Hospital (FGH) and Royal Lancaster Infirmary (RLI) a pilot was recently started to supplement the digital nursing record by allowing the nurses to record the comfort round at the bedside via the use of an iPod device.

The comfort round was piloted for a number of months on Ward 6 at FGH to ensure any early usability teething problems were ironed out. The iPod devices went live at Westmorland General Hospital in June and are due to be rolled out on all surgical and medical wards at the RLI and FGH next month.

The shift from nursing staff using the traditional paper based record to a digital nursing record is significant and a challenge that the EPR Clinical Content team and clinical staff at UHMBT are meeting together.

Emerging technologies such as iPods will, over time, significantly change the practice of nursing not just at UHMBT but indeed across the world.

The right piece of equipment for the right task is important to provide point of care digital documentation.

The challenge the team faces on a daily basis is to integrate the technologies and electronic forms into the nurses daily work and current and best nursing practice without disrupting the overall status quo within the hospital.

A pilot approach allows the nursing staff to get used to using the new device whilst at the same time enabling the IT Team to learn about the practical use of the device on the wards and make improvements before a wider roll out across the Trust.

In the future, the iPods will be used for recording more nursing assessments and nursing observations quickly and easily at the bedside without the need to write them down or having to log into a PC.

Tracy Carling, Project Lead for the Clinical Content Team, UHMBT, said: “This pilot has been very well received by the nursing teams who have adapted to this seamlessly. They like the new technology and they like the fact that they can easily record the information at the patient’s bedside.”

Angela McNally, Ward Manager on the Frailty Unit at the RLI, UHMBT, said: “The ward staff absolutely love them.”

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