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Improving communication lines: quality improvement project moving a department away from outdated paging


Introduction Paging systems in Hospitals have been established for some time, but they are now outdated and unreliable. This opinion is shared by the UK government, which has given the NHS until 2021 to become free of these technologies. Given this new mandate, we wanted to implement a change in the way other Healthcare Professionals can contact Orthopaedic Senior House Officer Doctors (SHOs), at Darent Valley Hospital, a District General Hospital in Kent, England.

Methods Using the Plan, Do, Study, Act (PDSA) cycle model for quality improvement projects, the authors demonstrate two successful cycles improving the way in which HCPs can establish communication with Orthopaedic Junior Doctors. PDSA cycle 1 introduced a ward doctor to be stationed on the orthopaedic wards and to carry a mobile phone. The mobile phone worked well, but there were limitations to having to stay on the wards. PDSA cycle 2 introduced mobile phones for all Orthopaedic Doctor Teams. Impact of changes made was measured using staff questionnaires distributed to a range of Healthcare Professionals.

Results After PDSA Cycle 1, 100% of the 36 asked agreed that having a ward doctor had saved time in their day. 72% said they page an Orthopaedic Doctor zero to two times with no reply, compared with 9% before the change was implemented. After PDSA cycle 2, 100% of the 31 asked agreed that using mobile phones was an effective way of communicating with the Orthopaedic Doctors, and 90% said that, on average, they would spend less than 2 min trying to contact an Orthopaedic Doctor, compared with 33% after PDSA cycle 1 intervention.

Conclusion This cycle has clearly improved communication in our orthopaedic department. If used in the right way, mobile phone technology can surely improve our clinical environments.

  • communication
  • multiprofessional
  • productivity
  • learning loop

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