Integrated Cath Lab Delivers Continuous Care for Population of One Million
University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust’s Cardiac Unit, West Midlands, England
IT reliability issues created delays in patient treatment and staff inefficiency
As one of the largest acute teaching hospitals in the UK with a patient population in excess of one million, University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust’s Cardiac Unit is a leading centre for the diagnosis, treatment, and care of patients with a wide range of heart conditions. The national specialist tertiary Cardiac Unit has over 1,000 beds and has representation of all major specialties, including trauma centre and cardiac surgery on site. Providing heart attack services for the whole of Coventry and Warwickshire, anyone within this population experiencing a cardiac event is brought to the Trust for emergency treatment and coronary stenting. The team also provides electrophysiology services, cardiac surgical services and pacing as well as non-invasive cardiology to both local and tertiary populations.
For the Trust, avoiding any interruption to the delivery of patient services is absolutely critical given the escalating demands on hospital services. Because of issues with reliability and efficiency, the Trust began looking for an integrated cath lab to manage the complete peri-procedural workflow of the cath environment.
As Peter Glennon, Consultant Cardiologist, University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust’s Cardiac Unit, explains: “We lost a lot of cath lab time as a result of IT problems in the past, and that had to be addressed. Any break in our service means the cath labs can’t work – affecting both patients and staff.”
In addition to delays in patient treatment, IT reliability issues also impacted staff efficiency. Reporting could not be undertaken, for example, meaning doctors had to return during their free time to complete reports, creating extra work and leaving less time to treat patients.
Alongside a more reliable solution, the Trust wanted a more responsive and flexible cath lab system, most notably in the way data could be both entered and retrieved by all staff.
As the Trust began evaluating potential vendors during an open tendering process, they encouraged all of the department’s stakeholders to test drive the different cath lab products, and the Change Healthcare solution rose to the top. “Everyone was very impressed by the Change Healthcare solution’s data input flexibility and the company’s willingness to work with us to create the most friendly user interface,” explains Dr. Glennon.
The Change Healthcare cath lab system includes haemodynamic monitoring, patient and procedure tracking, and cath procedure reporting for cath lab work. The system interfaces directly with the Trust’s X-Ray equipment and links to additional modules for scheduling, pacing, EP, and ECG provided by HD Clinical. “Change Healthcare worked very closely with HD Clinical to deliver the complete solution,” Dr. Glennon says.
Another key factor was their ability to resolve any issues remotely to minimise service interruption. “In the past, suppliers had to send an engineer on site, resulting in a lot of delays,” Dr. Glennon explains. “The quality of support and speed of resolution from Change Healthcare have been very impressive and key to improving the availability of cath lab services.”
Improved efficiency and responsiveness in realtime allows UHC’s cardiologists to report a case while it’s still in progress and build an emergency patient workflow. “Often, we do not have a name or hospital number for an emergency patient, so temporary details are generated,” Dr. Glennon explains. “Historically, it was a difficult task to merge the emergency record with the correct ID when details were found. The Change Healthcare system makes this very simple, and it takes only minutes. This saves a lot of administrative time and improves safety because the patient details reach the correct record more quickly.”
With increased flexibility, the Cardiac Unit has experienced improved collection of routine data, providing far more insight into performance. When combined with the integration of powerful Cognos reporting tools into the Change Healthcare cardiology system, clinicians have an easily accessible and detailed snapshot of cath lab performance. “The reporting system is far more flexible, which is enabling us to convey our clinical information more effectively, such as cath lab timeliness metrics,” Dr. Glennon notes.
The Change Healthcare reporting templates are also enabling the Trust to easily submit the required audit data to national bodies, such as the British Cardiovascular Intervention Society (BCIS). “Change Healthcare is really good at ensuring the reporting complies with the datasets required,” says Dr. Glennon. “The system is updated regularly and completely and effectively minimizes duplication.”
The investment in the Change Healthcare cath lab system has radically improved IT reliability for the Trust, allowing the Cardiac Unit to not only avoid cath lab interruptions but also, as a result, improve patient care and staff satisfaction. As Dr. Glennon confirms, “The Change Healthcare system is far more advanced than our previous solution and, as a result, much more reliable.”
Additionally, the more flexible reporting solution is delivering new insight into cath lab performance from procedure timings to turnaround that will underpin on-going improvements in cath lab efficiency. As the Cardiac Unit continues to build on its success and meet increasing demands, adding specialist services and additional staff, this deeper understanding of performance will help to support further efficiency gains. “Understanding not just the number of procedures but also timings, how long each procedure takes, and turnaround times will help cath lab efficiency and support our goal of continuous improvement,” Dr Glennon concludes.