Digital pens that can transmit patient notes directly into hospital files via Bluetooth, cutting out data entry, are being trialled by midwives in Portsmouth.
Midwifery sister Jackie Luckett with one of the digital pen systems used to speed up note-taking.
Six midwives have been using the digital pens successfully as part of a pilot which could revolutionise the way patient information is captured
Using Anoto pattern paper, that replaces their ordinary forms, staff write down their notes as normal, and the digital pen, linked to special software on a server, records and transmits the information; this is then transformed into data and imported into the NHS records system at Portsmouth. This cuts out considerable time previously spent on computers for the midwives and will consequently save a good deal of money as well.
The digital pens, which have an in built infra red camera and memory, are synchronised using Bluetooth with Blackberry smart phones that the midwives use, which then transmit the data recorded, instantly, when forms are completed. On successful receipt at the server the data is removed automatically from the pen, ensuring confidential data is not retained.
Staff have found that the system helps free up time which would otherwise be spent inputting notes to medical records, so more time can be devoted to the patient. Using the system also minimises the risk of notes being lost in transit.
Jackie Luckett, a midwife sister who has worked for Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust for about 27 years, said: 'We have been using them when visiting pregnant women for their initial booking to fill out their notes and means we don’t have to go back to the hospital to do the input all over again. This way we know all of the information is safe as well’.
Bill Flatman, director of ICT for the trust, said the new pens – which look like fountain pens – have been 'extremely popular' with midwives. The trial has been very promising.'
For more information on digital pen technology, click on this link