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Nurses report that innovation is improving patient care at London hospital trust

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A new “application” that detects early signs of kidney failure is being by nurses used to improve care at the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust in London.

Using an instant alert system, the Streams app directs clinicians to patients who are at risk of, or who have developed, acute kidney injury.

“Streams is saving us a substantial amount of time every day”

Sarah Stanley

Within a few weeks of being introduced, nurses who have been using the app said it had been saving them up to two hours every day, according to the Hampstead-based trust.

It noted that AKI affected one-in-six inpatients and was often an indication that a patient was deteriorating, but that it could be difficult to detect and treat quickly.

Streams, which was developed in partnership with technology company DeepMind, uses a range of test result data to identify patients at risk of developing AKI and means clinicians can respond in minutes rather than hours or days, said the trust.

More than 26 nurses and doctors at the Royal Free Hospital were now using Streams, which was introduced earlier this month, said the trust, adding that it was alerting them to an average of 11 patients at risk of AKI each day.

Sarah Stanley, a consultant nurse who leads the trust’s patients at risk and resuscitation team, said: “Streams is saving us a substantial amount of time every day.

“The instant alerts about some of our most vulnerable patients mean we can get the right care to the right patients much more quickly,” she said.

“Instead of spending time checking a number of different systems for information about patients, all the information is contained in the app, which frees us to spend more time delivering face-to-face care to patients,” said Ms Stanley.

“The app is delivering cultural change to the way technology is being used”

Chris Laing

Chris Laing, a renal consultant who has worked with DeepMind to develop Streams, added: “The app is delivering cultural change to the way technology is being used to improve patient care.”

Over the coming months, Streams will be rolled out to more clinicians at the Royal Free, said the trust. It said a formal service evaluation would be carried out to measure the overall impact the app was having.

Meanwhile, the DeepMind team will be working on alerts that will help staff care for patients with other serious conditions, including sepsis and organ failure.

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