Thousands of patients in the UK are dying every year and hospitals are wasting up to 15 per cent of their entire budget as a result of poor handover. The UK National Health Service (NHS) wastes at least £250 million a year from delays to discharge, and the same problem is seen in hospitals throughout the world.
‘Handover’ is a critical process in healthcare when responsibility for patients transfers from one clinician or team to another. In every hospital, thousands of such handovers take place every week. Most hospitals use a combination of inefficient, informal communication systems for handover including bits of paper, sticky notes, and WhatsApp messages.
Established in 2021, CAREFUL has been testing and building its tech platform to enable clinicians to seamlessly capture and update health data and records of patients in hospital care. CAREFUL is a digital health platform that enables visibility, accountability and collaboration as patients move through different care settings and interact with different caregivers. The platform provides hospitals, clinicians, and multidisciplinary teams with a constantly updated, holistic view of every patient’s plan of care to ensure their safe and frictionless movement throughout their health journey.
Helping hospitals communicate internally and with patients
Research from CAREFUL shows a quarter of all doctors and nurses worldwide use spreadsheets to record lists of patients and tasks. A clear view of the status of the hospital — and predicting future flows — is obscured. Staff don’t know what’s happening and nor do the patients. Even in digitally advanced hospitals, critical tasks are regularly lost or forgotten.
“All these headaches can be solved quickly and easily with CAREFUL,” said Dr D J Hamblin-Brown, Founder and CEO of the company. “CAREFUL is an application which helps hospitals communicate internally, and also with patients and their families.”
CAREFUL users can send, receive and share responsibility for patient care during peer-to-peer handover, internal referrals, discharges and transfers between organisations. Patient safety is improved because nothing is lost or forgotten. Patient information is added, reviewed and updated at every transition of care to ensure a complete and continuous health story across care settings. Caregivers contribute to the story as the patient moves between community care, hospital, teams and home or back into community care. Patients are invited to access and contribute to their own record.
Dr Johann Grunlingh is an NHS emergency medicine consultant and Intensive Care specialist in London. He and his team at Newham Hospital helped to test the application during development. He commented: “Handover is a time consuming and dangerous process especially in critical care. CAREFUL fills a huge gap where Electronic Patient Record systems perform poorly. CAREFUL provides an action-focus that would benefit every care team in the NHS.”