Tech-savvy physio helps trust to overhaul community care

A physiotherapist with no previous IT training has developed a system that allows hospital and community staff to share electronic notes.

As a result, an NHS trust’s ability to provide early treatment and avoid unnecessary hospital admissions has vastly improved.

Srikanth Kalaga is a member of North West London Hospitals NHS Trust’s rapid response team, which visits vulnerable patients at home within two hours of a GP referral.

The aim is to treat patients at home, keeping them out of hospital. Mr Kalaga was frustrated at the lack of information the team could access while on visits.

He wanted to improve communication between the teams on the road and hospital consultants.

‘I was frustrated when I moved to London from Wales. I thought we would be using up-to-date technology, but we were still faxing, and using white boards to log patients’ details,’ he said.

Mr Kalaga worked with colleagues in the IT department to develop a tailor-made system for the rapid response team

Now, the teams can access patients’ histories on site.

Teams perform electrocardiograms in the patient’s home, with the results being seen immediately by consultants in hospital, and use high-definition web cameras to speak to a consultant.

They can also generate automatic discharge letters and update an ‘intelligent’ white board.

Clinical manager Margaret Magee said communication between hospital and community staff had ‘improved immensely’.

‘Previously everyone was working in their silos with paper notes. It is not a totally unique idea, but secured shared electronic notes that comply with data protection [regulations] are the way forward.

It means community staff can access hospital reports and consultants can see a patient in real time.’

One patient was taken to hospital after being diagnosed at home with Guillain-Barré syndrome via video by a community physiotherapist.

Contact Mr Kalaga at:

Graham Clews and Louise Hunt

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