Somerset NHS FT observes improvements after deploying digital nursing forms

Somerset NHS Foundation Trust observes improvements after deploying digital nursing forms that were developed using Better’s low code tools, an integral part of Better Platform.

The forms, deployed across all adult inpatient wards at the Musgrove Park Hospital, give nurses a better oversight of patients by enabling assessments to be digitally recorded at the bedside and having this information in an oversight dashboard.

Since going live with the digital assessment forms in May, the Global Digital Exemplar (GDE) notes a quick uptake amongst nurses: over a course of four weeks, as many as 22,944 forms have been completed to include 2025 unique patients.

The forms contain a number of features that include data capture, body map and risk score calculations, which enables data to be presented via a dashboard to improve patient oversight. One of the features welcomed by the nurses is the forms’ ability to automatically calculate the BMI and add up the scores within the assessments.

“Quite a lot of nurses have said how much easier it is not having to look up the BMI,” says Victoria Parsons, digital project manager at the Somerset NHS Foundation Trust.

One of the nurses said the new digitalised forms are “amazing, it is easier than trying to read the handwriting – it is much better now everything is in one place.”

Nurses can also easily enter the required information, which helps reduce errors and improves the quality of information documented about a patient.

“We audited the forms and looked at the common answers - those are all buttons now,” Parsons explains. “They're mapped to SNOMED CT coding as well.” In addition, there are also mandatory questions on some forms that have to be answered before users can submit them.

The sharing of information between forms such as height and weight means information does not need to be entered twice, this has reduced the amount of duplication.

The forms are accessible from any computer or iPad via the Better portal and are easy to configure and change. The forms that were rolled out include:

  • High Impact Risk Assessment
  • About Me
  • Body Map
  • Waterlow Pressure Damage Risk Assessment
  • Diabetes foot screening Assessment
  • Core care plan – Pressure Ulcer Prevention and Management
  • MUST – Malnutrition Universal Screening Tool
  • Multidisciplinary Moving & Handling Assessment and Care Plan
  • Multidisciplinary Individualised Falls Care Plan
  • Bed rail and low bed assessment

Built on open standards, the forms can be shared amongst other care providers that run their systems on openEHR. This is part of the Trust’s overall open standards strategy which allows it to focus on data models and user interaction with data, providing solutions that can go directly into the hands of its users.

The Trust, one of the few to merge its acute, community and mental health services, is also setting up a process for digitising other forms.

About Better EHR Studio

Better EHR Studio provides low code tools for fast and agile development of forms and applications. The Studio has proved crucial during the Covid 19 pandemic, enabling healthcare providers, including the Somerset NHS Foundation Trust, to create, deploy and improve Covid 19 digital forms in a matter of weeks. The Studio low code tools have also been used to develop different forms by the Hannover Medical School, Medtronic, Eurotransplant and the Cattedra project.

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