Hospital team are the champions of a new barcode system

Surgical nurse practitioner Jenny Goodman who is one of the clinical champions.

Surgical nurse practitioner Jenny Goodman who is one of the clinical champions.

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A health trust which serves Hartlepool and East Durham has been chosen to champion a new NHS system to boost patient safety.

Barcode technology is set to transform the NHS and the North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust is leading the way.

The University Hospital of Hartlepool

The University Hospital of Hartlepool

It is one of only six in the country to be selected as a champion of the new system and has become a demonstrator site for the Department of Health Scan4Safety project.

All patients receive a uniquely barcoded wristband when they enter hospital.

They can then be used to record all items of equipment which are used at the point of care.

Unique bar codes are also used for staff that can be scanned to show exactly which member of staff administered each treatment, and at what time and where.

The role of clinical champions is pivotal to the successful implementation and future sustainability of the project

Debbie Blackwood

The barcodes mean that details about operations or equipment used can be easily traced back if required.

It helps to eliminate any errors and improves patient safety.

A team of clinical champions in wards and departments is helping raise awareness about the technology.

The trust’s Scan4Safety team is in the process of training ward staff on how to use the system with the help of its clinical champions.

Debbie Blackwood is the clinical process design lead for the project.

She said: “We are implementing Scan4Safety following a phased approach in theatres and inpatient wards. Once implemented, nurses will have more time to spend at the patient bedside providing direct patient care.”

She said the project’s champions were “enthusiastically helping the team with the training of staff on the use of the scanning device and the procedure for scanning products to the patients they are being used on.

“The role of clinical champions is pivotal to the successful implementation and future sustainability of the project.

“The champions act as a resource and advocate in their department, while giving positive messages to staff and patients about the benefits of the project.

“They also work closely with the project team to provide feedback and continuously review the success of the training and roll out programme within their area.”