Hospitals and other in-patient facilities using medical device alarms to alert medical staff to serious changes in a patient’s condition, are increasingly finding nursing and other medical staff are failing to respond to critical equipment alarms, leading to patient’s failing to get the prescribed amount of medication, deterioration of the patient’s health, serious injury, or even death involving coroners and substantial litigation claims for Trusts.1
Thanks to a highly successful partnership with Sheffield Children’s Hospital, Tutum Medical Ltd of Chesterfield developed the award-winning BEAMS (Bedside Equipment Alarm Monitoring System), a new monitoring system for single-bed patient rooms and four to six bay wards, which is significantly improving response times for bedside critical alarms, leading to improved patient outcomes, better workflow for nurses and reduced healthcare costs for the hospital.
Missed hospital bedside alarms is highly prevalent. Why is this happening? Studies have shown that devices used on a single patient can produce hundreds of alarms every day, such as critical alarms monitoring cardiac function and blood oxygen saturation. With staff shortages, an increase in the number of single-bed patient rooms and alarm fatigue to name a few, the situation quickly gets out of control leading not just to consequences for the patient, but also for staff morale.
Between 2016 and 2021 3,266 claims were made against the NHS for inadequate nursing care (includes infusion and intubation problems), costing Trusts a staggering £247,260,120.2 The situation has not improved, more examples are hitting the headlines, such as: “Coronavirus patient died alone in hospital side room after calls for help were not heard.” 3 “Coroner calls for changes to warning alarms on oxygen machines after confusion ‘hastened’ death of Covid patient in Hackney.” 4 “Covid patient died in hospital side room after breathing tube disconnected and calls for help went unanswered.” 5 “One in three patients requiring emergency help with their breathing are dying.” 6
BEAMS, the acoustic, bedside equipment, critical alarm monitoring system, allows nurses and other medical staff to improve response times to hospital bedside alarms, especially for critical equipment, making their lives easier and improving patient care and experience. It integrates a digital platform with audible monitors, a speaker system and nurse consoles. It is also mains-operated and creates its own Wi-Fi mesh network which removes the need to interface to hospital infrastructure.
The successful acoustic monitoring BEAMS system has now been installed in 70 single occupancy rooms across six wards in the Sheffield Children’s Hospital and at various stages of trial with other hospitals throughout the UK.
Jeremy Hunt MP, Chair of the Health and Social Care Select Committee and former Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, said of the system “This device is making such a difference at Sheffield Children’s Hospital.” 7 In Jeremy’s latest book ‘Zero: Eliminating unnecessary deaths in a Post-Pandemic NHS’ he talks about the letters he received from NHS patients, he writes, “These letters persuaded me that I needed to focus my attention on preventing harm and death.” Jeremy continued; “According to a study led by Helen Hogan and Nick Black of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical medicine, about 4 per cent of hospital deaths had a 50% or more chance of being avoidable, that’s 150 avoidable deaths every single week.” 8
Paul Rawlinson, Managing Director of Tutum Medical Ltd will be speaking about the BEAMS system at the Med-Tech Innovation Expo on the 9th of June at the NEC in Birmingham, under the title ‘Collaboration with the NHS for improved patient safety and efficiency – leveraging IoT Technology. Tutum Medical are also finalists in the national Medilink UK Healthcare Business Awards for ‘Delivering Innovation in to Health and Care Award 2022 at the same event’.