At a stroke - Health Minister to see digital pens in action

Western Isles community nurses will demonstrate the extensive benefits of new digital pens to the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing Alex Neil, when he travels to Stornoway on Tuesday to conduct the 2011/12 NHS Western Isles Annual Review.

NHS Western Isles is the first health board in Scotland to launch the innovative digital pens, which will result in increased time for community nurses to spend with patients, and less time on administration and data entry.

The digital pens are being used by nurses in the Eastside Team (which covers Tolsta, Back, Stornoway and Point), and the pens are set to be rolled out throughout the Western Isles community nursing teams.

The digital pens look similar to regular pens, but they include intricate technology, including two inbuilt cameras to capture and transfer handwritten notes into a digital format, which can then be recorded and shared. This means that patients’ notes can be saved to a secure system at the point of care (e.g. a patient’s own home), without the nurse having to travel back to their base to access the system and input notes into a computer. Patients’ notes are then immediately available to other appropriate healthcare professionals such as GPs, consultants and other hospital-based staff.

NHS Western Isles Nurse Director/Chief Operating Officer Nigel Hobson said: “The community nursing teams are very positive about using this new technology, as it’s straightforward, ensures patient information is secure, and will give them time back with patients, rather than time spent inputting data.

“This is an extremely important development for us in the Western Isles and demonstrates the Board’s commitment to become a world-leader in the application of telehealth to improve how we care for patients. It also present some exciting opportunities for future developments in other service areas.”