Autoscribe Informatics

Mortuary Management using Matrix tracker case study


Courtesy of Autoscribe Informatics

The Ashford and St Peter's NHS Trust in the UK has chosen Matrix Tracker to manage and track the transition of bodies through the hospital mortuary.

Ashford and St. Peter's Hospitals NHS Trust was formed in April 1998 and manages two sites; Ashford Hospital in Middlesex and St. Peter's Hospital in Chertsey, Surrey. The mortuary at Ashford and St Peters Hospital (ASPH) is an important part of the service for patients who die in hospital, or in the community, and their bereaved family and friends. A new mortuary building was opened in 2010 in a more central site location to replace facilities on the edge of the site built in the 1940s. The mortuary holds approximately 60 bodies (including bariatric facilities) and also has 3 postmortem tables, since post-mortem examinations are sometimes requested by hospital doctors to provide more information about an illness or the cause of death, or to further medical research.

The mortuary at ASPH serves not only the hospitals, but also the wider community, so bodies can arrive from a variety of different sources. In addition, bodies leave to go to various locations such as undertakers, research, families, etc. Bodies are stored in fridges and it is essential to accurately record fridge occupancy and also to make sure that there is no occasion where there are no spare fridges to hold the bodies. It is also important to keep track of the bodies to ensure they are moved on as quickly as possible and that each body is sent to the correct location. The original paper-based tracking system was deemed to be unacceptable and so an electronic system was required. Key requirements for the new electronic system were to:

  • Meet all the current mortuary regulations including CPA (Clinical Pathology Accreditation) at an acceptable cost
  • Provide the flexibility to increase functionality as required and if regulations change.
  • Ensure that any future changes reflect the way the users work and not require the users to change their practices to suit the software
  • Provide a very user friendly system as the staff members have low levels of IT skill

The solution offered by the existing LIMS vendor was both expensive and provided no ability to alter the function of the system beyond a few simple settings. The Matrix Tracker system from Autoscribe, however, is a single, very flexible, software solution that allows the exact same program and code to be fully and compliantly configured to meet the precise needs of a wide variety of tracking applications without writing any custom code or esoteric scripts. 

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