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UK National IT awards praise scoring system prioritising sick children

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Posted December 1, 2014

A recently established collaboration between IBM and University of Leicester Hospitals NHS Trust, has led to the electronic version of the Paediatric Observation Priority Score (POPS) to be praised at a recent health awards.

The POPS score, which was developed by Dr Damian Roland (pictured), senior lecturer at the University, a member of the SAPPHIRE group and a consultant in paediatric emergency medicine at Leicester Royal Infirmary, uses traditional components of observations taken in children such as heart and breathing rate and combines them with novel features such as a nurses’ gut-feeling. This leads to a score to quickly identify how ill a child is when they are brought to A&E.

Named as Highly Commended in the ‘Best use of IT to support clinical treatment and care’ at the recent Electronic Health Insider Awards 2014, this accolade recognises the role POPS plays in delivering high quality care to children presenting to Emergency Departments.

The category focused on projects, programmes and teams who have successfully re-engineered care processes to streamline service delivery, eliminate waste and/or free up frontline staff to focus on patient care.

Dr Roland said: “The POPS score is useful in several ways. It allows doctors and nurses to quickly spot very ill children, but also to be confident in discharging low-scoring children home.

“When the Emergency Department is really busy, looking at all the POPS scores helps us see how ill all the children are, to help prioritise cases and move staff in to the children’s area to help if needed The judges were so impressed by the difference POPS makes to patient safety, and the fact that we are trying to make it as user friendly as possible.”

Working with IBM, POPS data was gathered from over 20,000 patients and pulled into the analytics applications for review. The work demonstrated POPS indeed spotted seriously ill children, discharged the right children home and also predicted length of required hospital stay.

The POPS score has already been recognised as an up-and-coming patient safety improvement tool and was shortlisted in the national Patient Safety Awards in 2013.

Source: University of Leicester

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