BACKGROUND: The Hospital at Night system has been widely adopted to manage Out-of-Hours workload. However, it has the potential to introduce delays and corruption of information. The introduction of newer technologies to replace landlines, pagers and paper may ameliorate these issues.
AIM: To establish if the introduction of a Hospital at Night system supported by a wireless taskflow system affected the escalation of high Early Warning Scores (EWSs) to medical attention, and the time taken to medical review.
DESIGN: Prospective 'pre and post' observational study in a teaching hospital in the UK.
METHODS: Review of observation charts and medical records, and data extraction from the electronic taskflow system.
RESULTS: The implementation of a technology-supported Hospital at Night system was associated with a significant decrease in time to documentation of initial review in those who were reviewed. However, there was no change in the proportion of those with a high EWS that were reviewed, and throughout the study a majority of patients with high EWSs were not reviewed in accordance with guidelines.
CONCLUSION: Introduction of a Hospital at Night system supported by mobile technology appeared to improve the transfer of information, but did not affect the nursing decision whether to escalate abnormal findings.