THE CREATORS of an innovative software program that monitors mortality at St George’s Hospital, London have been named finalists in this year’s prestigious Health Service Journal (HSJ) Awards.

The unique software, developed by statistics expert Dr Jan Poloniecki and St George?s former medical director Professor Paul Jones, analyses mortality across 30 clinical specialties at the hospital.

Comparing up-to-date mortality rates with data collected over the past five years, the program is able to detect small yet critical changes in the number of patient deaths.

Whenever the number of deaths rises or falls unexpectedly, the software triggers an alert which prompts a clinical investigation into the possible causes.

Professor Jones explains why the system is so unique:
“No other hospital in the world has a system like this that monitors deaths across all clinical specialties and then acts on the information produced.

“We now have the ability to detect trends in deaths, analyse why they may be occurring and be proactive about improving patient care.

“But we can also identify good practice that may have gone unnoticed in the past and spread it out to other specialties so that other patients can benefit.”

Figures produced by the software have shown the number of deaths at St George’s have dropped by 6.9% in the last five years. There are now one in fifteen fewer deaths at the Trust than in the period 1999 to 2003.

The software together with the monitoring team that uses it have been shortlisted for an HSJ award in the category of Improvement in Performance Management.

But Professor Jones and Dr Poloniecki will have to wait until November 15 to find out if they have won the category, when the winners of the awards will be announced.

Announcing the award finalists last week, HSJ Editor Alistair McLellan said:
“All the health providers [shortlisted] have beaten off competition from all around the UK to demonstrate real cutting edge best practice in healthcare delivery.

“We are seeing an unprecedented explosion in new ideas and ways of working throughout the NHS, and these organisations are right at the forefront of that.”