NZ-developed Patientrack wins two awards

10 Mar 2011 | Adverse Events

Paitentrack was developed to reduce the number and impact of adverse events and their associated costs to hospitals in the UK. It was developed in response to the concerns of New Zealand intensive care specialist Dr Michael Buist (now working in Australia) about the number of people who died in his intensive care ward.

In the early 1990s, Buist and a group of clinicians undertook research that led to the recognition of ‘adverse events’ – when hospital patients get sicker because of the treatment and care they receive, rather than because of the illness for which they were originally admitted.

Studies show that up to 10 percent of all hospital admissions are affected by an adverse event. Other research has found that between 50 to 70 percent of adverse events are avoidable.

Buist decided the solution lay in the use of information technology specifically designed to support the medical response processes, and Patientrack is the outcome. The software aids the recognition of a deteriorating patient and ensures an appropriate response.

Commonly recorded ward observations are captured through bedside laptop computers, hand-held PDAs or existing systems.  Patientrack’s risk algorithms detect data and data combinations that require an alert to be raised. Graded alerts are delivered using existing pager or hospital wireless network devices. 

If a doctor or nurse receiving an alert is unable to respond, the alert is sent to the next most appropriate doctor until there is a response and attendance – termed “the chain of response” by UK standards body the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence.

Patientrack won the UK Healthy Science Journal prize for ‘improving care with technology’, and the Central Manchester University Hospitals National Health Service Foundation Trust, in which the software was trialled, won an eHealth Insider award for the ‘best use of IT to promote patient safety’ through its use of Patientrack.

More information about Patientrack is available here. Some of the information used in this article is from Improving care with technology,, March 2011.

Last updated 19/01/2012