In April 2017, the University Hospitals of Leicester (UHL) NHS Trust opened a new 48-million-pound emergency department (ED) at the Leicester Royal Infirmary. In planning for the new ED, the Trust wanted to improve its point-of-care (POC) testing in a number of ways, beginning with blood gas analysis.
Searching for the best solution
Previously, the UHL NHS Trust had been using a range of blood gas analysers from three different suppliers, which required regular maintenance. Importantly, blood gas test requests were logged manually and reporting of results was paper-based with no automatic link to the Trust’s Sunquest Integrated Clinical Environment electronic patient record (ICE-EPR) system.
When patients were transferred from the ED to one of the decisions units or an acute ward, the clinicians could only track the test results via the hard copy patient notes from the ED.
The lead clinicians and ED consultants worked closely with the Trust’s IT department to develop the requirements for the blood gas POC tender. The main criteria were:
- Ease of maintenance
- Ease of use
- Physical size
- Sample volume
- Analysis speed
- and connectivity between the Trust’s master patient index, ICE-EPR and POC analysers.
The chosen solution
After a blood gas POC tender with four manufacturers submitting bids, the UHL NHS Trust and the IT department, and lead clinicians and ED consultants chose the Radiometer solution, which included 24 ABL90 FLEX PLUS blood gas analysers and the AQURE Enterprise POC data management system.
Linda White, Project Manager, leads the Information Management & Technology team. Together with Radiometer, she reviewed the IT architecture and ensured connectivity of the key systems to minimize the number of possible points of failure.
From their first conversation, it became clear that Radiometer’s AQURE Enterprise software system was flexible enough to be tailored to the specific needs of the Trust. Additionally, all necessary information could be communicated seamlessly between Radiometer’s POC analysers and the existing hospital IT systems.
Improved clinical governance
By interfacing with the Trust’s ICE-EPR, Radiometer’s AQURE Enterprise system confirms the patient’s identification once the patient barcode is presented to the analyser, ensuring that test results are correctly matched to individual patients.
The ABL90 FLEX PLUS analyser provides results in only 35 seconds and the connection with the ICE-EPR means results can be delivered to the clinician in as little as 1 minute. This speed improves workflow efficiency and gives clinicians the ability to make faster diagnoses and improve patient outcomes, particularly in the time-critical environment of a busy ED.