Case study

The Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust streamlines communication with Alertive

The Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust (PAH) identified the opportunity to drive improvements in efficiency for their staff by implementing Alertive’s clinical communication product. Many of the practices that supported the existing technologies in use were causing stress, frustration and delay. They also noticed the creeping use of social media platforms to overcome these issues, introducing a number of clinical, productivity and wellness problems. The Trust ran a procurement exercise to select new providers and selected Alertive to help redefine how communication worked in the Trust.

Timely and effective communication is crucial within a hospital setting. Before the implementation of Alertive, staff used a combination of bleeps and social media messaging to communicate with colleagues. This way of communicating created a heightened level of urgency but made it difficult for staff to establish priorities and work efficiently. In addition, issues with sharing sensitive data over social media channels made it difficult to be clear on key facts. Some of the key findings uncovered during an audit of existing communication practices before implementing the change included the following:

  1. Datix Report – The Datix incident reporting system cited communication as a factor in nearly 70% of incidents
  2. Interrupted Clinical Tasks – 24.4% of bleeps interrupted critical clinical tasks
  3. Incorrect Bleeps – 26% of bleeps were sent to the 04 wrong person
  4. Bleep Audit – A bleep audit conducted by Junior Doctors identified 79.1% of bleeps received are from nursing staff

A particular area of frustration was the delay experienced when trying to contact a colleague for advice or assistance, with initial communications often missing key information or context required to deliver care. This often led to a follow-up, which then introduced further time delays and frustration. We mapped out a simple process in a flowchart on the next page, but actual communication processes were often more drawn out, requiring individual steps to be repeated.

Key Success Metrics

  1. Response Times – 49% reduction in average response times
  2. Process Steps – A significant reduction in the number of steps required to contact a colleague
  3. Time Saving – 38% reported over an hour, with 8.7% reporting 3+ hours per shift

Benefits Realised

Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust has rolled out Alertive to approximately >2,500 users with a plan to extend their use further. The key benefits that have been delivered to date fit into the following categories:

Saving Staff Time

A recent survey within the Trust showed the significant time savings staff were realising per shift:

  • 8.7% reported saving 3+ hours
  • 28.3% of users reported savings of 1-2 hours
  • 63% of users reported saving up to an hour

Faster Turnaround Time for Patients

The average response time for an urgent response decreased from 4:09 minutes to 2:07 minutes. We also have a number of anecdotal reports relating to specific patient cases, with one patient being discharged 3 hours earlier than usual.

  • Nurses – Saving an average of 52 minutes per shift
  • Doctors – Saving an average of 57 minutes per shift
  • Pharmacists – Saving an average of 120 minutes per shift

Information Security and Compliance

The Trust has run several reports that allow them to reconstruct the record of care delivered to understand better any particular areas that can be improved upon. Alertive retains a full audit record of all communications that can be accessed if needed.

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