Chris Netherton

Chris Netherton

Managing Director, Microtest

As the pressure on staffing of our hospitals grows, the potential offered by time-saving technologies must become a higher priority.

The staffing issues faced by our hospitals have been making headlines for years now. And that problem is likely to become even more acute over the next few years. Whatever your personal views about Brexit, there is no doubt that the UK’s pending departure from the EU increases the vulnerability of our hospitals with regard to staffing.

There are more than 50,000 EU nationals currently working as doctors or nurses in the NHS. Our health system would be in a precarious position should a large number of those experienced staff decide to leave the UK.

There are more than


EU nationals currently working as doctors or nurses in the NHS

A recent Institute for Employment Studies report cited the example of the Royal Brompton in London, where over 20% of the hospital’s nursing staff are from the EU. It also highlighted how this situation will be compounded by the fact that a substantial proportion of our nurses are approaching retirement age, with one in three of the current workforce due to retire within the next ten years.

This has once again thrown into focus the need for our hospitals to speed up the adoption of new technologies which can relieve some of the pressure on staff and help them to work more efficiently – while also improving the quality of patient care.

Guru within the Royal Cornwall Hospital

At Microtest, we have witnessed first-hand the impact that technology can have on the working practices of our hospitals. A classic example is the experience of The Royal Cornwall Hospital, with their adoption of our award-winning Guru patient record sharing system.

Guru is a ground breaking, secure, web based solution. It enables patients to permit authorised clinicians to access their medical record from their GP Practice, directly at the point of care. It allows real-time patient record sharing between healthcare settings. The development of Guru was based on understanding the unique challenges faced by NHS staff.

NHS data are held in different silos – primary care, secondary care, community care, social care, etc. Guru helps the NHS achieve its goal of joined up healthcare by sharing critical information across care providers.

This technology has proved particularly valuable for the Pharmacy team at Royal Cornwall Hospital. Whenever a new patient is admitted to a ward, they carry out a medicines reconciliation to check which medications the patient is currently prescribed by their GP and which, if any, they have an allergic reaction to. This medicines reconciliation procedure is vital to protect patient safety.

Prior to the adoption of Microtest Guru, this would typically require the Pharmacy team to phone the patient’s GP surgery and request the information, which would subsequently be written up and then faxed across to the hospital. This could lead to delays if a patient was admitted out of hours or at weekends, or a time when the surgery was tied up responding to other calls.

Now, with Microtest Guru, the Pharmacy team can get immediate, real-time access to the patient’s medical records, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

By eliminating the need to contact the GP surgery, Royal Cornwall Hospital estimate that Guru saves 10 minutes for each medicines reconciliation. As they conduct over 2,000 medicines reconciliations per month, this represents a saving of over 4,000 man hours per year, freeing up valuable staff time which can be redeployed on other aspects of patient care.



reconciliations a month conducted at Royal Cornwall Hospital.

An estimated


mins saved per reconciliation by Guru.

That’s over


hours saved each year!

“The benefits of Guru speak for themselves. Guru has a lot of applications across different care environments, and because it is configurable and easy to use, I think it has a really bright future. I would definitely recommend that other hospitals should adopt Guru.”

Iain Davidson – Chief Pharmacist at Royal Cornwall Hospital

Remember that this saving of 4,000 man hours was achieved in one department, at one hospital. The time savings that could be achieved by the wider application of these kinds of technologies must be massive.

At Microtest, it is really rewarding to be at the forefront of an IT-enabled revolution in working practices that will deliver such huge benefits to medical staff and their patients in the years ahead.

CategoryBlog, Guru, Microtest

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