The information technology systems used in most modern emergency departments alert staff to patients who require special management, including those with infections or histories of violence, or children on the child protection register. These systems can improve care for patients, protect staff and prevent infection, although their benefits must be weighed against the risks involved in storing sensitive data on computers. It is essential, therefore, that such systems are professionally maintained and updated. This article reports how one UK emergency department uses a computerised alert system to improve patient care.
Rob Fenwick and Alan Leaman describe how staff at their trust are warned automatically when people who need individualised forms of care attend the emergency department