Leigh Moody, UK Managing Director at SOTI, discusses why mobile-first technology could improve the quality of NHS care
According to research, accident and emergency (A&E) hospital waiting times have hit their worst level since NHS records began . Whilst the struggle the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) is currently facing is evident, the tightening of government purse strings is continuing to have a damaging effect on not just patients but also doctors, nurses and support staff. These financial decisions, combined with an aging population, is putting increased pressure on the service and has resulted in February being deemed the ‘toughest month to date’ for the NHS .
In order to help combat these matters and improve the quality of care, the NHS needs to re-evaluate its communication systems, from not only an internal perspective but also within doctor-to-patient relationships. To efficiently exchange clinical data, while remaining compliant with regulations imposed by the industry, there is a need for the NHS to adopt mobile-first technology that allows complete visibility over all mobile operations across the healthcare system. But how exactly does the NHS achieve this?
Globally, mobile technology is revolutionising healthcare and increasing the standard of care for patients. Practitioners are using mobile devices to improve the standard of care, both inside hospitals and remotely, by helping to streamline clinical workflows, improve the speed and accuracy of diagnosis and treatment, and strengthen patient communication.
In addition, mobility decreases the time practitioners spend on administration, allowing them to devote more time to patient care. With a hardware agnostic solution, IT departments and help desks can have a single, integrated, real-time view across their wireless networks of all deployed devices.
With these clear benefits, why aren’t all NHS Trusts adopting a mobile-first approach?
There appears to be hesitancy with regards to its security. Some believe that migrating data from legacy equipment, even paper, to new digital devices, may compromise security and privacy. Recent cyberattacks on the NHS, such as the WannaCry ransomware attack , haven’t helped both internal and public perception. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
With the right solution in place, Trusts can safeguard sensitive patient data more securely. If a device is ever lost or stolen, IT can immediately lock and wipe it, ensuring the organisation avoids penalties and damaged reputations from breaches. A geo-based tracking feature will ensure the device is eventually found – once paper is lost, it’s lost.
A mobile-first approach will unlock the benefits of remote care. It’s been proven that remote care can improve access to healthcare services, enabling patient needs to be addressed as early as possible, and free up vital hospital space for priority patients.
Without an integrated mobility system in place for remote care, practitioners will have to head back to HQ for IT support, taking time away from their patient visits while incurring travel expenses, something the NHS really cannot afford. Features such as remote help desks will allow administrators to diagnose and fix devices in real-time, allowing healthcare professionals to focus on their actual job – patient care.
Remote tools such as technological-support and self-management will be key to empowering patients by equipping them with the ability to further understand their condition and thus manage it appropriately. This kind of support can improve both behavioural and clinical outcomes.
In order to improve upon efficiency, the NHS must make use of mobile technology to successfully transition into the modern digital age. Those making big decisions within healthcare trusts must consider the implementation of a robust management solution, that encompasses a unified approach to the management of mobile devices, applications, content and data. Uncompromising reliability and security will be a key enabler for building confidence and reassuring those in the sector that this new data is being stored safely and securely across all devices.
Whilst there is no denying that more needs to be done by the NHS to keep up with patient needs, integrating a mobile-first approach will act as a solid starting point. This short-term expense will be the key to boosting efficiency and improving patient care, providing a long-term gain in the healthcare sector.