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Investing in mobile technology solutions: executive summary

A toolkit to help increase quality of care and productivity using mobile technology.

About this toolkit

This essential toolkit focuses on ways to maximise return on investment in professional use of mobile technology.

Who is the toolkit for?

It will help Chief Information Officers, Chief Clinical Information Officers, commissioners, providers and their teams to use mobile technology to improve quality for patients, increase productivity and deliver efficiency savings through transformation at the point of care.

It includes success stories and lessons learned along with practical tools and resources to help you when implementing mobile technology solutions.

What’s in the toolkit?

This leading practice toolkit contains comprehensive processes, templates, hints, tips and advice to help you put together your mobile project strategy and business case. It is designed to be compatible with all project methodologies, such as Prince and agile. It is not a technical tool nor an Application Programming Interface (API). Using this toolkit you will:

  • find innovative examples to inform your mobile vision and strategy
  • understand key success factors and how to maximise benefits
  • quickly find knowledge, practical guidance and tips to deliver effective mobile technology solutions

How has this toolkit been developed?

We collaborated with trusts and project teams and reviewed NHS England Technology Fund projects to bring you the latest knowledge, practical guidance and top tips for success. The toolkit also includes examples of exciting and innovative mobile working solutions with first-hand insights from successful projects. This will help you in narrowing your search to find the solutions that best fit your needs.

The following organisations were consulted in the development of this toolkit:

Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Lincolnshire Community Health Services NHS Trust
Livewell Southwest
NHS England
NHS Improvement
NHS South, Central and West Commissioning Support Unit
Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust
Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust
South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust
Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust

Mobile: the strategic and financial context

The Francis Inquiry Report published in 2013, highlights the need to address variability in the quality of care by ensuring appropriate staffing levels.

By releasing time to care, mobile working practices and technologies are recognised as a key enabler to improving quality of care, patient experience and working lives of staff.

The NHS is being asked to balance financial sustainability in line with the National Audit Office requirement to find an estimated £22bn in productivity savings by 2020/21. In addition, Lord Carter’s Review of Operational Productivity in NHS Providers, published in 2015, signals the need to achieve greater productivity in hospital workflow to reduce financial pressure.

Technology roll-out is one of the key areas to be supported by national funding streams as highlighted in the NHS Five Year Forward View. Mobile technology enables transformation at the point of care.

How mobile can improve quality of care and efficiency

Using mobile technology is one way to deliver efficiencies, improve the quality of care and enhance patient experience. In supporting the objectives of the National Information Board (NIB), NHS providers are being asked to consider where technology can add most value.

The NIB aims to support innovation and growth to help providers in delivering integrated care in the community and achieve paper-free services by 2020. To achieve this, healthcare professionals require access to patient records – at the point of care.

Nuffield Health highlights mobile technology as a priority area to achieve efficiency savings: ‘Early strategic priorities should be the areas where technology is able to facilitate some relatively easy and significant wins. Most notable are the systematic and comprehensive use of vital signs monitoring and support for mobile working. Progress is being made but there are many providers yet to fully utilise this technology.’

(Nuffield health: Delivering the benefits of digital health care)


NHS England digital maturity data from 2016 shows that only 61% of community provider organisations felt their workforce were equipped with mobile devices to access data at the point of care.

Nursing observations

NHS England data on nursing observations from 2016 indicates that only 39% of provider organisations were able to use digital systems to alert professionals of deteriorating clinical observations or early warning scores.

Other opportunities for efficiency and productivity savings which NHS trusts have made using mobile technologies are identified in this toolkit.

Supporting local transformation

Many providers have included mobile technology in their transformation projects and others will be considering refreshing mobile technology or embarking on the journey.

Sustainability and transformation plans (STP)

As part of developing their STPs, local health communities are developing regional roadmaps which outline the steps they will take to transform services. Local Digital Roadmaps are the component of the STPs that will contain any mobile solutions.

As part of this process providers have been asked to evaluate their position by undertaking a Digital Maturity Assessment.

NHS England state:

‘Digital Maturity Assessment provides a framework for assessing the extent to which healthcare services in England are supported by the effective use of digital technology. It will help identify key strengths and gaps and supports the National Information Board’s commitment to achieving a fully interoperable health and care system by 2020 that is paper-free at the point of care.’

Mobile technology can help NHS organisations get the most out of their existing electronic health records. It can support new models of care and greater interoperability along care pathways.

The NHS England digital maturity assessment measures include 'availability of key systems off site' and 'if clinicians are equipped with mobile devices to access data at the point of care'.

Across all organisations and settings, digital maturity data 2016 indicates that only 60% of provider organisations agreed that their professionals are equipped with the mobile devices they need to access records and clinical applications at the point of care.

Our compelling mobile project examples included in this toolkit highlight the opportunities and challenges in using mobile technology. Beyond the potential significant return on investment the use of mobile technology can empower your staff whilst stimulating further innovation to streamline services.

Mobile project examples

These examples highlight how mobile technology can leverage electronic health records (EHR’s), empower clinicians and enable staff to innovate and streamline workflow.

Going mobile with community health records

Image - Going mobile with community health records

Strong leadership required to gain commitment.

Work closely with staff to support delivery of benefits.

Empower your workforce by using mobile devices at scale

Image - Empower your workforce by using mobile devices at scale

Improve communication and IT literacy.

Enable further productivity through business tools and apps.

Innovative use of mobile technology

Image - Innovative use of mobile technology

Clinicians have the opportunity to innovate using apps and device features to realise efficiencies.

Innovative way to access national Spine services

Image - Innovative way to access national Spine services

HSCIC developed a prototype secure mobile health app for the iPad that allows authorised health and care staff to view patient data held within HSCIC National Spine Services in a new and innovative way.

Mobile investment toolkit: principles

Working closely with providers and partner organisations, the NHS Digital has identified some of the challenges in using mobile technology.

Our toolkit summarises success factors and three key stages of investment: Analyse, Decide and Deploy – with each stage having its own steps and recommended processes to follow.

Three stages of mobile technology investment; analyse, decide, deploy

  1. Analyse your current digital maturity, benchmark your progress against the success factors. Understand emerging mobile technology trends. This is central to  developing your mobile vision and defining your strategy.
  2. Work with users to prepare a clear and fully supported business case for your mobile solution.
  3. Work with business change managers and suppliers to benchmark and implement changes in working practices with users to realise the benefits.
Last edited: 21 May 2019 2:14 pm