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Porto Hospital wins world prize for life-saving new system

“Using technology to attain excellence” – this is the challenge laid down by Microsoft in their Health Users Group Innovation Awards, and this year Porto’s Hospital de São João, in collaboration with Portuguese IT company DevScope, has won a top innovation award.
VITAL (standing for surVeillance, MonIToring and ALert) is a solution that “automatically identifies, scores and promptly alerts hospital staff about patients at risk for clinical deterioration”.
Intriguingly, VITAL will also be able to anticipate 30% of A&E admission deaths (as well as 50% of non-emergency inpatient deaths) with seven days’ notice.
In other words, “through its capacity to anticipate”, the new technology will allow “professionals to act more promptly over patients whose situation is deteriorating and thus avoid many complications”.
Expressing his delight at being awarded the prize, in the category of Electronic Medical Record Optimisation, the president of the hospital’s administrative board António Ferreira said it stood as “global recognition of the work developed by IT professionals at the hospital, particularly when it came to the safety of patients”.
“All the development in this area, involving healthcare professionals and their technicians, results in a collaborative effort with a Portuguese technology company, DevScope, and corresponds to the strategic objective of developing customised systems that are replicable, with the potential for commercialisation,” Ferreira told reporters.
The new system has already been put into practice in São João’s surgical and internal medicine departments, and it is only a matter of time now for it to be adopted in hospitals elsewhere.
As Ferreira pointed out, VITAL will not only save time by pre-empting problems, it will also save money.