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SEND is an electronic vital signs system that has been jointly developed by Oxford University and Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. The system is now live in all adult inpatient areas across the Trust.

Early warning scores, based on the vital signs of a patient signs (blood pressure, heart rate, breathing rate, oxygen saturation and temperature) are designed to facilitate recognition of deteriorating patients in hospital. Each vital sign is assigned a score, which increases as the vital sign becomes more abnormal. The score for each vital sign is then summed to provide an aggregate score. However, the early warning scores in use in 2010 were predominately based on clinician expertise rather than being developed from high quality data.

However, paper-based systems – the traditional chart at the end of the bed – have several flaws. Errors in both assignment and summation of scores result in missed opportunities to recognise patient deterioration early. Assignment and summation also takes additional time, which could be better spent caring for the patient. It also takes up chart space, decreasing the readability of the chart.

The BRC therefore supported the development of the System for Electronic Notes Documentation (SEND), designed to be an ergonomic and efficient electronic early warning scoring system where real-time data is shared, whilst minimising recording errors using tablet computers.

In 2017, the SEND system was included in a Strategic Research Agreement between the University of Oxford, University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, and Drayson Technologies. For more information please visit the SEND section of Drayson Techologies website.

On 24 February Dr Mark Porter interviewed Dr Peter Watkinson on BBC Radio 4's Inside Health (23:44 on clock) about the project, which replaces traditional paper bedside charts with tablet computers. 

Dr Lauren Morgan talks to National Health Executive about the importance of good design for new technology

Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust win e-Health Insider Digital Hospital of the Year

Read more about the introduction of SEND across the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust