A NORTH-EAST hospital trust is on target to save a quarter of a million pounds by going digital and colour-coding patient care.

North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust is using an automated database tool to collect patient observations and deliver them to nurses and clinicians.

An observation is simply collecting data about a patient and logging it to then better inform the care they receive.

The technology, by US firm InterSystems, has enabled the Trust to cut observation times by up to 57 per cent, saving nurses an average of almost 10 weeks a year.

The trust has also reduced costs associated with patient records by up to £225,000 a year and significantly improved patient safety by making all relevant medical records available through a single point of truth.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, the system meant nurses could to check respiratory ward patients’ observations less frequently, reducing their exposure to the risk of infection while also saving time.

Previously, nurses would manually record patients’ vital signs on paper charts before calculating an early warning score to see if a patient requires further help.

Technology now automated this process and alerts medical staff if there is an issue.

Data can also be accessed in real-time and patients' needs are colour coded, allowing for better decision making.

“This is an important innovation both for our ongoing advancements in digital maturity, and in our mission to deliver the safest care possible to patients,” said Professor Graham Evans, the trust’s chief information and technology officer.