Guest post by James Ash, Marketing Executive
Nearly two months after the Health and Social Care Bill was finally passed, we are just beginning to see the effects of some of its provisions on the NHS. The latest reforms are hardly as popular as the late Steve Jobs, but embracing his technology could have been the method of by which Andrew Lansley aimed to improve efficiency—rather than cutting important services.
Earlier this month, it was announced that the majority of clinicians at Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust will be given iPads in order to access its patients’ electronic records. A move such as this gives the clinicians instant access to vital information when they need it most. No longer will records need to be noted down and laboriously typed up; instead, doctors will be able to scann and save or edit them directly in the new software. Bradford seem to be leading the way as Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust, for example, have only just recently signed a deal with Alert Life Sciences Computing for a full Electronic Patient Record System.
Bradford’s new plan to access these records on-the-go may take some staff training and time to adapt to, but this will ultimately improve efficiency whilst retaining vital front-line staff. An important return on the investment is that clinicians will be able to spend more time helping patients, and less time doing paperwork. If you want to be cynical, you could say that embracing mobile technology, such as a tablet device, will allow a hospital to get more work and effective care from its staff for the same salary. Importantly, there is no need to increase the clinicians’ responsibilities—the technology simply helps them to do their jobs even better.
The same can be said for non-clinical staff, too. In the age of Web 2.0, more and more information is firstly managed digitally rather than physically, and secondly, online. Many NHS organisations have their own staff intranet to improve the sharing of information, but there are other alternatives out there. Membership management systems are available, as well as simple file storage spaces like Google Drive or Dropbox.
If the NHS is able to embrace these technologies that many of its staff members love using in their private lives, then their experience with efficiency and staff buy-in will improve. As with any organisation, for the NHS to develop, evolve and ultimately progress, it must be able to adapt to the changing uses and benefits of existing and emerging technologies.