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Advancing mobile technology in healthcare

The benefits of mobile working in healthcare often focus on clinical staff working within the community. But mobile technology is expanding in its uses and aiding improving care within hospital walls.

James Reed, the Chief Clinical Information Officer at Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust, sees enormous potential in the use of mobile technology in inpatient mental health. “On a ward, you’ve got lots of regular tasks,” says Reed, in contrast to community mental health provision, where work tends to involve very complex conversations which necessitate recording more than yes/no information. The trust has already sought to make use of mobile devices when it comes to therapeutic observations on wards. “That give staff a very carefully designed, process-driven interface for them to know who’s meant to be observed and when, and it presents information with a photo and their care plan, so staff know exactly who it is,” similarly to CareWorks mobile solutions.

Research, audit and quality improvement are already seeing benefits from mobile technology. Yassar Qureshi, a surgical registrar at University Hospital College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, and his colleagues were keen to ensure consistency of care for patients who had undergone oesophago-gastric surgery. A paper booklet was initially created to record a patient’s progress but documents were lost and data had to be replicated into a computer, wasting valuable time. The team developed an app. Qureshi explains, “Each page [in the app] represents an interaction with the patient, and there are several milestones that should be achieved by the patient on a given day. We simply tick the box if the task or milestone is achieved. This allows us to assess compliance against the pathway.” Much like CareDirector Integrate, the app enables the tracking of patient pathways and makes data collection much simpler, faster and more accurate.

South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group is another organisation which has found increased efficiency simply by introducing an electronic diary management system. Thomas Manning, the CCG’s Head of Information and Performance, says, “More and more people were spending less and less time in the office, and their daily schedules were changing without notice – so you’d got people turning up at the wrong places, or not turning up at all.” Staff were also clear, however, that they didn’t want to have to carry around a work phone. The CCG worked up a bring your own device policy, using a mobile device management solution to ensure information remained secure while giving users access to their CCG e-mail addresses on their personal phone.

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Read the full article by Clare Read on the advances of mobile technology within healthcare here.