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The infographic below shows the percentage of doctors and nurses who own a smartphone or tablet (British Medical Journal, October 2015).
NHS England, NHS Digital (formerly HSCIC) and NHS Improvement support the increased use of mobile working and technologies within the NHS. The use of mobile technology can be crucial to releasing time to care, improving care quality and efficient working practices. Digitising the way healthcare staff work is vital to enable changes to the way patients interact with the NHS.
There are many other ways in which mobile working can directly affect patients, staff and NHS trusts. For example:
- patients can self-monitor through their tablet or smartphone and communicate remotely with their healthcare practitioner
- software applications allow for better communication between colleagues and departments - using messaging tools and emails
- the organisation has the opportunity to modernise, develop more streamlined service models and empower the mobile workforce to increase productivity, thereby developing staff skills in IT
Building on the National Information Board (NIB) commitment that all patient and care records will be digital, real-time and interoperable by 2020, dedicated support will be available for pioneer trusts to produce their digital roadmaps. One of the main aims is to use the available technology to address some of the most complex issues facing patients and healthcare practitioners. This will give staff further opportunities to innovate and streamline service models.
The increase in the number of NHS trusts adopting mobile working practices is redefining the way that the NHS delivers care by embracing the new mobile working culture; the NHS can take this opportunity to transform how healthcare practitioners deliver their services. This will also positively change attitudes towards how technology can be accepted, implemented and used across an entire organisation.