Using real-time pathology data to support appropriate care of the deceased at Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

February 15, 2022

Monitoring of patients in the mortuary environment is of critical importance to ensure timely and appropriate management of the deceased.

Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (HHFT) is using PhoenixSoft’s mortuary dashboard system at the Trust’s two Human Tissue Authority (HTA) licenced mortuaries located at Winchester Hospital and Royal Hampshire County Hospital respectively.
The mortuary dashboards provide real-time information regarding patients’ length of stay within the mortuary.
Jeff Morrison, Cellular Pathology Manager, Royal Hampshire County Hospital, explains:
“The HTA sets the care standards against which the mortuaries must operate. For example, we have obligations around how patients are stored and maintaining their dignity. The HTA guidance requires us to check the patients regularly for any signs of deterioration and to move patients to freezer storage if necessary. However, by 30 days all patients must be moved to freezer storage.
Our freezer facility is located in the mortuary at Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital, so we have to make arrangements to transfer patients from Winchester to Basingstoke.
The mortuary dashboard has allowed us to track and categorise each of our patients by their length of stay. Patients that have been with us for up to 14 days are green, amber patients have been with us for more than 14 days but less than 21 days. These are patients where we need to schedule their condition checks and consider whether we need to make arrangements to transfer them to our freezer facility. The cases that are at 21 days or more are highlighted in red. These are patients in their last week where we need to make a decision whether to prepare them for freezing or try to make arrangements to transfer them over to funeral director care.
We have patients coming in and leaving the mortuary daily. In extremely busy periods, such as the winter months, keeping track of exactly how long each patient has been in the facility can be complicated and labour intensive, with each fridge being checked daily and the length of stay calculated.”
The Mortuary dashboard is built on the data acquisition capabilities of PhoenixSoft’s Data Companion software solution. The pathology service at HHFT has been using Data Companion since July 2016 to provide data extraction and real time update of the service’s pathology data into an accessible industry standard database for easy data interrogation and reporting.
Jeff comments: “Data Companion refreshes every few minutes to provide live data directly from our Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) and is therefore the ideal basis for developing dashboards.
PhoenixSoft has developed a number of real-time dashboards to monitor turnaround times in histology and blood sciences. By identifying the right mortuary data points needed from the LIMS, PhoenixSoft has built an extremely useful tool for the mortuary team.”
At the click of a button, PhoenixSoft’s mortuary dashboard provides instant, colour-coded information detailing the number of patients and their current classification based on their number of days in the mortuary.
Continues Jeff: “As an HTA-licensed service, we must ensure that deceased patients are stored appropriately to preserve their condition.
Now, we review the dashboard regularly through the week at both mortuary locations and use the information to add tasks and checkpoints into the calendar for the week ahead. This is a much more efficient use of time as we are no longer having to calculate the length of stay for each patient each day ourselves. We particularly like the fact that the dashboard highlights our priority patients and enables us to proactively manage their care.”