Hospitals in NHS Greater Glasgow are leading the way for the UK in using audio technology to train staff. Glasgow Royal Infirmary and the Princess Royal Maternity are the first hospitals in the UK to implement a new system using a mobile audio system to train new recruits.
Voicemap™ is expected to improve safety and reduce risk for staff and patients. It is now being adopted by hospitals elsewhere in the UK and Europe, following the lead of NHS Greater Glasgow. Each new member of staff is given an audio induction via an audio player and follows a customised tour, which describes the geographical layout of their workplace, and identifies safety issues involving potential risk to staff and patients.
The system is currently up and running in operating theatres in Glasgow Royal Infirmary, in the labour ward and the Neonatal Unit at the Princess Royal Maternity Hospital, and will be introduced shortly at the Western Infirmary's Accident and Emergency department.
Alastair Kirk, an NHS Greater Glasgow Training and Development manager, believes it will have a direct effect on patient safety: "Using technology means we can make sure all new staff are trained to exactly the same standard, and it's inevitable that that's a big improvement on a system that relies on other staff and can therefore be vulnerable to human error.
"What's fantastic about this is that, as well as working to the same standards, it can also be ‘personalised' to each department. That means that in the Princess Royal, new workers are given specialist training in security – so they can keep babies safe and protected. At the Western's A&E the training staff already get in how to cope with violence and aggression will be enhanced. Operating theatre staff have to know about how to apply proper infection control in a certain way, for example, and that's exactly what this lets us do."
Key issues such as Healthcare Associated Infections, needlestick injuries, medicine administration, moving and handling of patients are all covered on the audio tour, which is followed by a knowledge test. Alastair Kirk believes being able to prove the programme's worth is an asset: "Staff find this a very enjoyable way to train and they start their job with more confidence. It's early days yet, but we're very pleased with the start we've made.
"Voicemap is an Australian system and certainly, over there, it's shown an improvement in both occupational safety and improved patient care. We hope to see similar results once we have more people going through the system; it saves time and provides a more comprehensive induction than the traditional forms."
Dr Maggie Haertsch (PhD), the developer of Voicemap™, says: "The willingness of Greater Glasgow to lead the way by embracing this Australian innovation in the UK will see benefits in many areas of health care. Voicemap supports NHS initiatives to improve patient care and system efficiencies. It is the triple AAA of training. It is auditable, advanced and uses auditory messages to help people learn more quickly while enjoying the process".
The expected benefits to patients include improved safety and less exposure to clinical risk, and the individual systems have been designed with this in mind. Another significant benefit is that the system builds on teamwork and encourages professionals from different disciplines to work together:
"Everyone is getting the same information and learning about each other's roles. This in turn should lead to improved productivity and consistency in care pathways."