Smart Sensor Platform at National Health Service (NHS) Improves Patient Safety and Reduces Costs

February 21, 2020

In healthcare, patient safety is paramount. However, safety is often jeopardized by labor-intensive systems. In many areas of a hospital or other healthcare facility, manual checks must be carried out on a daily basis. These include checking the temperature at which medicines are being stored, checking temperatures to mitigate any risk of Legionnaires’ disease and checking for leaks to avoid damp and airborne mold, to name just a few.

Manual checks are time consuming, reducing the amount of time available for direct patient care. When checks are performed amid busy shifts, key details can be missed. Even when data is collected correctly, it can often be inadequate. For example, a check of a medicine’s storage temperature every 24 hours would fail to promptly catch any temperature fluctuations that occurred between those checks due to hot weather or an intermittent power outage. This could lead to compromised medicine, which could threaten patient safety.

Solving these temperature monitoring problems was previously too complicated — or too expensive — to undertake with technology. But, thanks to advancements in healthcare IoT, that is no longer the case.

Working in partnership with Infogrid, Disruptive Technologies’ sensors are solving such problems today for the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) by creating a an automated cold storage monitoring system.

Built specifically around Disruptive’s sensors, the Infogrid IoT system is simple to use and very low cost. No technical expertise is required to operate or set up the system in a healthcare facility. It can be up and running immediately as the perfect complement to Disruptive’s mini-sensors. Retrofitting these sensors to existing assets takes seconds, so set-up for full buildings and hospitals can occur very quickly. Now installed in over 100 National Health Service sites across multiple Trusts, the sensing system is focused on cold storage monitoring, with sensors applied to pharmacy refrigerators and freezers. It is automating daily hospital tasks such as medicine temperature checks, fire door monitoring, comfort temperatures for patients and much more. This has resulted in a quick ROI of less than three months for the National Health Service and significant improvements to patient care.

“Simplicity and low cost were key to solving this problem. The fact that both hardware and software required no technical expertise or training to get up and running meant frontline staff could interact with powerful data immediately. The cost is so low that the system generates and ROI in less than three months, and that’s just based on staff time saved. Avoided waste and additional energy efficiency are extra benefits that come as a free dividend. Ultimately, this results in a safer patient environment whilst reducing, rather than increasing, cost.” says William Cowell de Gruchy, CEO of Infogrid. “The wireless, 15-year battery life DT sensors are extremely small and require no setup or maintenance, matching the simplicity of the Infogrid system and resulting in powerful data and alerts that are up and running in minutes.”

Based on positive feedback from initial deployments, Disruptive and Infogrid are actively expanding the temperature monitoring system to new sites and use cases. One NHS Estates manager commented: “Our priority as a Trust is to provide a safe and effective care environment. The Infogrid system has already delivered significant benefit toward this goal across the Trust, particularly in pharmacy medicine storage. However, we see opportunities for improved patient care and cost savings in many areas throughout the estate. These include monitoring for conditions that could cause Legionnaires’ disease, patient well-being (including ambient temperature optimization for better recovery, and bedside assistance), fire safety, and much more. What’s great about the system is that it can deliver these benefits while generating a very quick return on investment.”

If you would like to know more about the Infogrid cold storage system for hospitals or Disruptive’s sensors, please contact us.

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