Hospital trials app for on-demand porters

Northwick Park Hospital in north-west London rolls out tablets and smartphones for staff to request porters

Credit: Anthony Devlin/PA Archive/PA Images

A hospital in north-west London is piloting the use of an app allowing staff to request assistance from porters.

Northwick Park Hospital (pictured above) in north-west London is trialling an e-portering app from caseload management software firm Infinity Health. The app allows staff to use a tablet or smartphone to request a porter to collect and transport a patient. Porters are then alerted when a new request comes in, and all parties can track the progress of the request in real time – right up until a patient is successfully dropped off at their destination.

Staff in the Northwick Park’s Accident and Emergency unit have been given iPhones equipped with the app, while iPad stations from which staff can book porters have been installed in other parts of the hospital. More than 400 employees will be taking part in the month-long trial, including 60 porters.

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The app replaces an existing system which requires staff to fill out a two-page paper form requesting a porter’s assistance. Major benefits of the new system will include eradicating problems with deciphering handwriting, the hospital said, as well as allowing porters to be notified of any cancelled requests.

Northwick Park’s lead consultant for emergency medicine Dr Miriam Harris, said: “This is a positive step towards helping us manage patient flow. The hospital is very busy and demand on portering services is always high. The app will help reduce the amount of time taken to request a porter or the need to chase requests up. It also allows us to add special instructions for the porter, such as the need to carry patient records, oxygen, or support equipment.”

If it the pilot is successful, the Infinity Health app will be deployed across the entire hospital, as well Ealing and Central Middlesex hospitals. The three hospitals constitute the London Northwest University Healthcare NHS Trust, which employs 9,000 staff and serves patients across four London boroughs.

Sam Trendall

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