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Case study

Saving 10,000 hours of staff time using Infinity task management at London North West University Healthcare NHS Trust

London North West University Healthcare NHS Trust (LNWH) is a large NHS secondary care provider with more than 8000 staff, serving a population of over one million people. Northwick Park Hospital is one of the trust’s main sites, and in 2018 entered a partnership with Infinity Health to transform how requests for porters to make patient transfers were coordinated, with the objective of improving efficiency and patient experience.

The problem

Millions of porter requests are coordinated every year in Northwick Park Hospital’s Emergency Department (ED), but delays in transferring patients to investigations or ongoing care was impacting on waiting times for patients who had not yet been seen or needed to be admitted. NHS-wide in 2018-19, 18.5% of patients spent more than four hours in A&E.

At Northwick Park Hospital, clinical staff went to a fixed location to handwrite requests for a porter. Porters came to this location multiple times throughout the day to pick up their next job. Additional information was rarely communicated, so porters didn’t know who made the request, the patient’s name or the equipment required. This lengthened the process, increased the likelihood of cancellations, and ultimately increased patient waiting times. On the clinicians’ side, they could not track the status of portering tasks. Inconsistent communication between clinical and operational teams resulted in an inefficient and frustrating process, and 39% of all requests for a porter were cancelled.

The solution

Infinity Health was selected to replace the manual, paper-based process for making  porter request at Northwick Park Hospital.

Using Infinity’s platform, staff can now submit requests from anywhere in the hospital, using secure mobile devices. Porters accept and share their activity in real-time, similar to popular taxi-hailing services.

Infinity automatically escalates requests for critical patients, expediting diagnosis, treatment and appropriate transfer, which further improves efficiency and patient outcomes.

Notifications alert key staff if issues arise, whilst reporting dashboards reveal business insights, for example how long certain tasks take and how many jobs are completed in any particular time period. A complete audit trail is recorded for all activity, including reasons for cancellations, which feeds into future planning and improvements.

Impact

Infinity is now used to by more than 500 staff in Northwick Park’s ED, the performance of which has significant consequences on the operational efficiency of the entire hospital. Infinity has helped reduce cancellations by over 80%, which has resulted in a sustained reduction of six minutes per porter request. This translates to a saving of more than 10,000 hours each year, equivalent to five FTEs.

The right information is being shared with the right people, at the right time. Porters now know who requested the transfer, the patient’s name and any additional requirements, meaning that patients experience a far more streamlined and coordinated service.

“The collaboration with Infinity Health demonstrates how working with the right partners genuinely improves the daily working lives of our staff and ultimately, patient care.”

Sonia Patel

CIO, London North West University Healthcare NHS Trust

“It has changed our lives, everyone now works as a team. We have more time to do our job, I love it more than anything else. I would recommend it 100%.”

Cirtis Lozane

Porter Supervisor, London North West University Healthcare NHS Trust

“Porters are visibly happier and happy porters make everyone happier! Nurses like knowing the status of their jobs. Escalating a request is so easy now and it’s preventing breaches. The app is brilliant!”

Carrie Johnson

Senior Sister, London North West University Healthcare NHS Trust

References
1. Baker, c (2019). NHS Key Statistics: England, May 2019, Briefing paper Number 7281, House of Commons