Background Efficient handover of patient information is fundamental for patient care and service efficiency. An audit exploring surgeons’ views on written handover within a Trust's surgical specialties concluded that clear deficiencies existed. Such concerns have been echoed in the General Medical Council's guidance on safe surgical handover.
Aims To design and implement bespoke software for surgical handover using the audit results of surgeons’ perceptions of existing processes. To gain feedback from the surgical department on this new software and implement a long-term sustainability strategy.
Methods Following an initial review, a proposal was presented for a new patient management tool. The software was designed and developed in-house to reflect the needs of our surgeons. The bespoke programme used open-source coding and was maintained on a secure server. A review of surgical handover occurred 12 and 134 weeks post-implementation of the new software.
Results Integrated Patient Coordination System (IntPaCS) was successfully developed and delivered. The system is a centralised platform that enables the visualisation, handover and audit/research of surgical inpatient information in any part of the hospital. Feedback found that clinicians found it less stressful to create a post-take handover (60% vs 36%) than using a Word document. IntPaCS was found to be quicker to use too (15 min (SD 4) vs 24 min (SD 7.5)). Finally, the new system was considered safer with less reported missing/incorrect patient data (48% vs 9%).
Conclusions This study has shown that careful use of emerging technology and innovation over time has the potential to improve all aspects of clinical governance.