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Combining leadership with technology to improve NRLS reporting times

North East London Foundation Trust (NELFT), an integrated community and mental health services provider with 6000 staff, has reduced turnaround times for reporting incidents into the National Reporting & Learning System (NRLS), the central NHS database for patient safety reporting, with the help of Datix patient safety software.

Bridget Tustin, Head of Risk Assurance at NELFT said, “At the end of 2014, the time had come to re-evaluate our approach to NRLS reporting. Attending an external NRLS presentation to learn more about how other trusts were operating provided the catalyst for change, making us sit up and take full responsibility for improving our own NRLS reporting mechanism. Since then, we have combined strong leadership skills supported by the process-driven benefits of the Datix solution to implement change. The results make for a real success story that has fostered a sense of accountability among staff and has dramatically reduced our NRLS turnaround times from an average of over 100 days to just six or seven days.”

NELFT has continued to use Datix software during major organisational changes over the last five years to manage and drive improvements in patient safety. Today, it relies on Datix to learn from incidents, complaints and claims, as well as manage risks, safety alerts and patient experience.

Bridget Tustin continued, “Over the years, Datix has evolved from a simple technology-driven solution used to record incidents, to a powerful source of data and a way to spot trends to help improve patient safety in a highly measurable way.  What is more, it enables us to promptly report to the NRLS.”

Next on the horizon is fulfilling the potential of the Datix solution by linking it to NELFT’s Electronic Patient Records system. This means that clinicians will no longer have to enter the same information twice into two separate systems. NELFT anticipates this development will have a positive impact in terms of time saved and patient safety.

Jonathan Hazan, Director, Datix, concluded, “NHS organisations like NELFT face repeated changes in the structure of the NHS while continuing to improve patient outcomes. Our software seamlessly links the management of incidents, risks, complaints and claims to maximise learning as organisations evolve. NELFT is a good example of how the combination of people, process and technology can yield efficiencies and foster a strong safety culture that creates a safer environment for patients and staff alike.”