Background: Accurate evaluation of growth is a key assessment of child health, in the UK use of a paper growth chart is currently standard practice. Our trust had a drive to become paper light thus there needed to be a way to store growth data electronically. Growth data is often incompletely documented. A previous review of childrens outpatient attendances at our hospital found that across medical, surgical and tertiary specialties only 33% of children had growth data documented. We describe our experience and findings of implementing electronic growth charts (EGCs) in both inpatient and outpatient settings in a childrens hospital.
Methods: EGCs were developed maintaining the same visual identity and using the same optimal growth data as the UK-WHO growth charts. These were initially rolled out in outpatients before being used in the inpatient setting. We assessed the comparative rates of documentation of growth data across childrens outpatients prior and post the introduction of the EGCs. A staff user survey was undertaken to assess likeability and usability of the charts.
Results: Following the introduction of EGCs, across medical, surgical and other tertiary specialities, 77% of children had a documented height and weight on the EGC. A total of 27 members of staff responded to the staff user survey whose jobs roles were grouped as dietician, health care assistant, nurse or nurse practitioner, junior doctor and consultant. 93% of health professionals stated that the EGCs were easier to use, clearer and easier to plot than the paper chart. 89% stated they thought the EGC plotted growth measurements accurately and 70% stated the EGC was more accessible than the paper chart.
Conclusion: Our experience shows a high level of staff satisfaction and increased documentation of growth measurements when using EGCs. Improvements in ease of use, clear plotting and accessibility were highlighted as improvements by users of EGCs when comparing to paper charts.