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Improving safety and efficiency in Orthopaedics at University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust

Date: September 12, 2018

Category: Industry news


One of the issues that University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust (UHPNT) had faced was ensuring that there were robust measures in place for the replenishment of stock.

Prior to starting to scan at the point of care, a stocktake was conducted to assess stock levels and review the situation. Some of the main issues that were highlighted included stock expiring on the shelf, inaccurate paper records and lengthy product recall processes. GS1 standards for patients (GSRNs), products (GTINs) and locations (GLNs) are all now scanned at the point of care in theatres.

Background

University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust (UHPNT) is the largest hospital in the South West Peninsula, providing secondary care to a catchment population of 450,000 and specialist services to a wider peninsula population of almost two million. As one of six Scan4Safety demonstrator Trusts, UHPNT is working hard to improve safety and efficiency through the introduction of GS1 standards.

Problem

One of the issues that UHPNT had faced was ensuring that there were robust measures in place for the replenishment of stock. Although measures were thorough, these were manual and there were risks that some products may not have been reordered or available in time for when they were next needed. 

Stickers from implants were placed onto a sheet of paper to make stores aware of which implants and products needed to be reordered. On rare occasions, stickers may fall off or the paper may have gone missing, meaning that products wouldn’t be reordered, which could risk cancelled operations and therefore potentially patient safety. 

Prior to starting to scan at the point of care, a stocktake was conducted to assess stock levels and review the situation. Some of the main issues that were highlighted included stock expiring on the shelf, inaccurate paper records and lengthy product recall processes.

What was the impact of using GS1 standards?

GS1 standards for patients (GSRNs), products (GTINs) and locations (GLNs) are all now scanned at the point of care in theatres. This traces the patient to the product, and the exact location that the care was given. By electronically tracing products to patients, it allows those affected by a product recall to be identified much quicker than before, and reduces the amount of time that clinical staff spend locating recalled stock and identifying patients.

What are the benefits?

Through the use of GS1 standards, UHPNT is now able to manage products more effectively using an automated replenishment process. This has had a significant impact on the costs they had been incurring every time a product expired or wasn’t replenished. The products that would expire within six months has now been reduced to 4% of the total stock in Orthopaedics and £38,000 worth of expiring stock has now been returned to suppliers.

Since going live in Orthopaedics Theatres in August 2017, the Scan4Safety team were able to go live in a second area, Neurosurgery, in February 2018. Overall the Trust has been able to reduce stock levels within those two areas by £90,000, with a 7% total stock reduction. The team are now working with Cardiology and Plastics with a view to roll out to the remaining areas within the surgical care group.

“The overwhelming brief for this project is patient safety. Scanning products before surgery improves this by reducing the risk of human error and, due to automatic electronic stock replacement processes, reduces the likelihood of operations being cancelled. Staff morale has also been increased because people who are designed to care for patients can spend more time caring for patients, rather than on the reordering and re-equipping of stores”
Mark Brinsden, Trauma and Orthopaedic Consultant at University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust

Read the full case study


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