Leigh Moody, UK Managing Director at SOTI, discusses the need for a mobile-first approach to better manage patient care and operations within the healthcare system.
It’s been well documented that the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) is struggling. The strain it’s being put under by an ageing and increasing population, and the ever-tightening purse strings of the central government is affecting the doctors, nurses and support staff working on the ground. Recent reports have shown Accident and Emergency (A&E) hospital waiting times have hit their worst level since NHS records began.
To help tackle these issues, the NHS needs to evaluate its communications systems, from an internal perspective and doctor-to-patient relations, to ultimately improve quality of care. By adopting mobile-first technology, the NHS will be able to securely and more efficiently exchange clinical data while remaining compliant with industry regulations.
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.
Patients can also be empowered by remote tools such as technology-supported self-management, which can help them to better manage and understand their condition, supporting improved behavioural and clinical outcomes.
Mobile technology is the future and the NHS needs to take the bold leap into the digital age and embrace the benefits it has to offer. A robust management solution that encompasses the unified management of mobile devices, applications, content and data with uncompromising reliability and security, must be considered by those who make the big decisions within healthcare trusts. It’s a short-term capital expense for long-term gain. A mobile-first approach isn’t the be-all and end-all to solving the NHS crisis, but it will be a solid starting point.