Government Minister Lord Prior paid a visit to the John Radcliffe Hospital where he got to see some really interesting showcases on digital healthcare. The Parliamentary Undersecretary of State at the Department of Health was shown a tablet computer system that is replacing bedside charts, and solution that is used to tackle sepsis, a reaction to severe infection. Dr Peter Watkinson, a John Radcliffe Consultant in Intensive Care Medicine, spoke about the tablet computer program during the visit, on Wednesday, 20 July, 2016.

The system that the hospital is using is called the System for Electronic Notification and Documentation (SEND) which involves healthcare staff inputting patient vital signs such as heart rate and blood pressure into tablet computers by patients’ beds as a replacement for conventional patient charts. SEND is a result of a successful team effort between Oxford University Hospital’s NHS Foundation Trust and the University of Oxford’s Institute of Biomedical Engineering.

The tablet links to patient barcode wristbands to identify them, and instantaneously provides advice on how to manage the patient’s care and clearly displays any degeneration in their health. It also means information about patients can be shared around the Trust, including on desktop computers, saving crucial time that was previously spent searching and distributing paper charts.

Sepsis is a common and potentially life-threatening condition whereby severe infection triggers widespread inflammation and organ failure. Using SEND and EPR the Trust has developed electronic tools to help identify sepsis cases early and start treatment promptly.

Lord Prior said: “I was very impressed by the innovative work I saw being carried out by staff at the John Radcliffe Hospital. It’s not long before other notable figures will start accepting the miracles of modern digital healthcare technology.”