Critical ICU Bed Information System Developed to Deliver Real-time ICU Bed Capacity Updates

2nd February 2022

An Intensive Care Unit Bed Information System (ICUBIS) developed by DMF Systems went live across Ireland on the 26th of March 2020 less than one month after Ireland received its first case of the deadly pandemic and before the surge of cases. The go-live date represented a significant first for Ireland, as it was the first time that a live view of ICU Bed Occupancy across the entire country was available. The ICUBIS delivers real-time information to the Health Service Executive (HSE) and the Department of Health management teams, while also providing crucial information to critical care practitioners.
The overwhelming positive response ICUBIS has received since its implementation is an endorsement of the usefulness of the solution in addressing a vital need within a health system.

ICU Bed Information System Overview

An Intensive Care Unit Bed Information System (ICUBIS) developed by DMF Systems went live across Ireland on the 26th of March 2020 less than one month after Ireland received its first case of the deadly pandemic and before the surge of cases. The go-live date represented a significant first for Ireland, as it was the first time that a live view of ICU Bed Occupancy across the entire country was available. The ICUBIS delivers real-time information to the Health Service Executive (HSE) and the Department of Health management teams, while also providing crucial information to critical care practitioners.

The overwhelming positive response ICUBIS has received since its implementation is an endorsement of the usefulness of the solution in addressing a vital need within a health system.

THE NEED FOR AN ICU BED INFORMATION SYSTEM (ICUBIS)

While healthcare management, practitioners and providers were busy planning for an expected surge in ICU cases brought on by the pandemic, it became clear that there was a vital need for a national ICU Bed Information System. In fact, the project had already been in development for a couple of years and the need for hospital bed management solution that could seamlessly deliver hospital bed occupancy statistics was not a new concept. The National Office of Clinical Audit (NOCA) in its Irish National ICU Audit (INICUA) Annual Report in 2017 noted that mean Bed Occupancy was very high at 91% -far in excess of the standard recommendations made in the report of between 70% and 80%.

NOCA recommended that the HSE take measures to facilitate the transfer of critically ill patients between hospitals to make optimum use of scarce critical care beds, to positively impact hospital bed occupancy across the country. 

With funding provided by the HSE, a project to implement the ICUBIS to record and communicate hospital bed occupancy in intensive care units across Ireland was launched within the scope of the NOCA National ICU Audit project. DMF Systems was tasked with developing and delivering the healthcare technology solution for the ICUBIS.

THE URGENT NEED FOR A NATIONWIDE ICU HOSPITAL BED MANAGEMENT SYSTEM

With an expected surge in ICU admissions due to the pandemic, the urgent need for a national healthcare technology solution that could provide up-to-date information on ICU hospital bed occupancy was brought to the forefront. 

As of writing this article, there are now 33 hospitals live on ICU BIS, hospital bed occupancy solution, which encompasses 77 critical care units (Public Hospitals, Private Hospitals and Paediatric Hospitals) throughout Ireland. The expanded scope of the project and reduced timeframe meant that huge sacrifices were undertaken by the development and implementation team at both DMF Systems and NOCA.

HOW DOES THE ICUBIS PROVIDE ICU HOSPITAL BED OCCUPANCY INFORMATION?

The ICU Bed Information System supports both a National view and an Internal hospital view of the status of ICU bed occupancy. Typically, the national information is available to all ICU hospital bed management system users, while the hospital view is available to all system users within an individual hospital.

The National view within ICUBIS provides the HSE and Hospital intensivists with a live information dashboard detailing the breakdown of Critical Care beds and includes the number of:

  • Open/ staffed beds
  • Occupied beds
  • Reserved beds
  • Beds cleared for discharge
  • Unoccupied beds

The ICUBIS dashboard also provides the time of the most recent update to the system for each Critical Care unit. Real time contact information for the Consultant on call in each Critical Care unit is also directly accessible from the dashboard.

An internal hospital view provides a breakdown of Clinical and Patient information for each of its critical care units and ICU beds. This view provides details such as the total number of:

  • Beds
  • Open/staffed beds
  • Occupied beds
  • Patients receiving invasive ventilation
  • Patients cleared for discharge
  • Available beds in each critical care unit within the hospital

The number of available beds in each critical care unit is also summarised and presented nationally.

WHAT BENEFITS DOES THE ICU BED INFORMATION SYSTEM DELIVER?

INFORMED DECISION-MAKING

Healthcare providers can quickly make informed decisions to enhance patient care given that the ICU Bed Information System provides a real-time National overview of ICU hospital bed occupancy and real-time availability. Hospitals that are nearing full ICU bed capacity can quickly make the appropriate decision to transfer a patient to the most suitable hospital which has more ICU bed capacity available. This level of fast and informed decision-making was not possible prior to the implementation of the ICU Bed Information System.

FASTER REFERRALS BETWEEN HOSPITALS

In situations, where a hospital is unable to admit a patient to ICU due to a lack of ICU bed capacity, they can quickly consult the national dashboard view provided by the ICUBIS and quickly identify hospitals in the vicinity which have the available ICU bed capacity. The communication process between hospitals is streamlined as the contact information for the Consultant on call in each Hospital Critical Care unit can be accessed directly from the dashboard.

REAL- TIME ANALYSIS & REPORTING

Data from the ICU Bed Information System is used to report on the total number of critical care beds available, the total number of open and staffed beds, the total number of occupied critical care beds and the available number of critical care beds. Currently this data is used by the Department of Health to monitor trends in COVID-19 numbers in ICU and ICU bed occupancy and availability and it is used daily to inform operational updates.

ENHANCED PATIENT CARE PLANNING

Trends in ICU numbers can be monitored overtime which facilitates effective planning. During the current pandemic, the availability of ICU beds has been the chokepoint in Health systems across the world. Within Ireland, predicted trends around the demand on ICU capacity have been used by modelling experts to inform Government decisions about restrictions on activity, lockdown measures and more.

Contact DMF Systems today to see the ICU Bed Information Management System in action and get all your questions answered by emailing us at [email protected] or visiting www.dmf.ie 

Discover more about DMF Systems:

DMF Systems delivers trusted software solutions to healthcare providers. Since 1998, DMF Systems has helped hospitals and laboratories to improve their efficiency, service and performance through innovative digital healthcare applications. Experts in the area of integration, DMF Systems deliver world-class software solutions including Laboratory Communication Solutions (MediBRIDGE), Clinical Information Systems (e.g. GeneCIS Clinical Portal, eDischarge, ICU Clinical Audit, ICU National Bed Information System and GeneCIS Unify) and Hospital Administration Systems.

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