“Smartphones will save the NHS”

The allocation of technology in key areas will save the NHS from ruin, writes a healthcare professional.

Writing for the Guardian, Simon Watson from Spectralink, suggests that the investment of technology and funding, such as the NHS Nursing Technology Fund, is providing “hope” for frontline services.

Watson referred to a recent FOI  request which highlighted that despite the pledge to create a paperless NHS by 2018, two-thirds of nurses and medical staff continue to rely on handwritten notes and corridor conversations to communicate vital patient information.

“Another survey of NHS staff recently found that, although 37% of those surveyed did not have access to a Wi-Fi network installed at work, 66% felt that this would improve their ability to provide good quality care,” wrote Watson.

“But sophisticated mobile communication technology could turn the situation around, allowing nurses to effectively be at their patients’ bedsides whenever required. Technology can identify new ways to reduce administration and speed up decision-making, knowledge transfer, delegation and equipment finding. The right tech means nurses can spend more time with patients, imporving the quality of care they can provide,” he continued.

He points to three Consider three simple capabilities that could run on a mobile device and improve the lives of clinical staff and patients alike:

• A smart nurse call system that can send patient alerts or lab results directly to the phone of the closest, most appropriately qualified member of staff.

• Barcode scanning would help ensure the right medicine is being given to the right patient or that the right person has turned up for surgery accompanied by the right paperwork.

• Geo-location of vital equipment could save hours of wasted time searching the hospital and ensure essential pieces of kit are well distributed across wards.

“The NHS needs to invest in purpose-built, smart mobile communication devices if it is to improve patient experiences, nurse satisfaction and hospital efficiency. And with £70m of the Nursing Technology Fund still to be distributed, the means are finally available to make a difference.”

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