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Efficient inpatient and outpatient echocardiography service

Posted: 16 December 2019

Picture of the chart

- Inpatient echocardiograms offered to 91% of patients in the main AAU block within 24hrs

- Improving inpatient outcomes by reducing diagnosis times, better patient management, and improved overall time to discharge

- Overall echocardiography activity for Inpatient and Outpatients at Watford General and Hemel Hempstead Hospitals risen from 6,383 in 2014 to 16, 592 in 2019

WHHT has more than doubled its echocardiography service in the last five years and introduced a dedicated seven-day inpatient facility at Watford General Hospital.

An echocardiogram identifies heart disease and uses sound waves to produce images of the heart. It’s a common test which allows the doctor to see the heart beating and pumping blood.

In October 2017, a seven-day inpatient service was launched as the winter was approaching. It was designed largely to target cardiology patients and the acutely unwell, enabling echocardiograms to take place within a 12-24-hour period. This has improved patient outcomes, reduced diagnoses times and improved patient management and time to discharge.

Rosalind Webb, Lead Cardiac Physiologist for Echocardiography, said:

“The seven-day cover has allowed us to significantly improve the service we provide to our inpatients. In April 2019 an additional echo machine was purchased via Capital Finance and this has enabled three distinct inpatient areas to be formed:

• AAU level 3 and Cardiac Suite
• AAU level 1 & A&E

“Currently we are able to offer inpatient echocardiograms to 91% of patients in the main AAU block within 24hrs and 71% of patients outside of the main AAU get an echocardiogram within the same time period.

“We are also delighted that our newly combined echocardiography activity for inpatient and outpatients at Watford and Hemel Hempstead has risen from 6,383 in 2014 to 16, 592 in 2019. This is a great achievement delivered by a hard-working and dedicated team of staff.”


Notes to editors

  1. 1. Further information about the Audit Heroes Award can be found on the HQIP website here.
  2. For more information, please contact the communications team on: 01923 436280 or email: Out of hours, please call 07900 228031.
  3. West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust serves people from across Hertfordshire, north London and further afield. It operates from three hospitals; Watford General, St Albans City and Hemel Hempstead. The trust has a catchment area of over 500,000 people and is one of the largest employers locally, with around 5,000 staff and volunteers.
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