31st of January 2017, 11:38 am: I am sitting in the waiting area of the Health Foundation waiting for my first workshop as part of an Improvement Science Fellowship to begin.
17 years back to the day we were getting ready to start the first study world wide into patient safety using Early Warning Scores in Wrexham.
In the 17 years in between a lot has happened: patient safety has gone from being an outsider interest to policy mainstream. Early Warning Score have helped to reduce cardiac arrests in many hospitals (on average by a third). Standardisation of scores across all hospitals in Wales has helped us to reduce mortality from sepsis by a fifth. Medical and nursing students leave university education these days knowing about the basic abnormalities of physiology that lead to catastrophic deterioration.
At the same time we are hearing about more adverse events in hospitals then ever. And in many cases patients and those close to them had an inkling before those professionally looking after them: ‘My wife was just not her normal self’. ‘I just knew that I was not right.”
This crucial knowledge about patients’ ‘normal’ state of wellbeing is usually hidden from health care teams. They hold data on vital signs and blood tests that help them to anticipate and understand deterioration. And often share only part of this information with patients.
How about: Patients get full access to their own records to see the latter and in return help doctors and nurses by making their knowledge about their own health and wellbeing available in the same place?