Industry

The case for more Mobile in Healthcare

A guest blog by Daniel Johnston MRes, RN, Clinical Workflow Lead, Imprivata

COVID-19 has changed the game – somewhat

During the last four months we’ve seen some dramatic changes in the UK healthcare landscape, particularly as the entire nation adapts to more mobile and home working. Now, everyone that can work from home, is doing so. This rapid uptake in the use of technology necessitated by the move to home working has advanced some trusts by several years.

COVID-19 has provided a catalyst for change. It has provided the impetus for many trusts to start using mobile technology, both in enabling people to work from home, with doctors and clinicians providing online consultations, and within hospitals and care homes, as mobile devices are used in a variety of different ways to provide contactless consultations and communications with patients. However, we are in danger of a reactionary view where technology has been procured to solve a short-term issue, without thinking about the longer-term requirements. Now the challenge is to ensure that the investment in mobile technology pays off.

Cultural acceptance of Mobile

As a practicing Nurse I have certainly noticed a shift in the last 18 months or so in attitudes towards mobile technology within the care setting. Us Nurses are embracing it! Like everyone else, we’re used to mobile tech in our home lives, and we are now expecting to have something similar at work.

At Imprivata we’ve seen some great examples where mobile technology is being used to provide a point solution, where a particular clinical workflow is made much better with the use of mobile devices.

For example, I’ve seen one trust that has rolled out a fabulous app for Nurses’ patient notes and observations. At the moment it is only used by the nurses. To get better value for each pound spent, the app could be made available to everyone that needs to see patient notes.

We’ve seen other instances where hospitals and care homes are using repurposed mobile phones to enable patients in isolation to have video calls with their loved ones.

Getting the most out of Mobile

At Bolton NHS Foundation Trust, clinicians have fast, secure, and auditable access to eObservations, via shared mobile devices with just the tap of a proximity badge. In the original pilot, to access the solution users were required to manually enter their login credentials into three separate applications using the onscreen keyboard in order to record a patient’s vital signs. The lengthy login times were proving unpopular in user trials and the IT team at Bolton were keen to find a way of simplifying system access without weakening security processes or breaching audit requirements.  Imprivata Mobile provided the answer, by extending the capabilities of Imprivata OneSign enabling fast, secure access to shared mobile devices and applications with the tap of a proximity badge. Following successful testing and user trials, the solution was installed on 500 mobile devices which were deployed over 8 weeks as part of the eObservations project. As a result, Bolton NHS FT has been able to unlock the full potential of its devices, ensuring fast and efficient access to the eObservations system whilst maintaining security and auditability.

Developing Mobile solutions

For all the instances described above, ease of access and interoperability are key to making mobile solutions workable.  By developing a minimum viable product and testing it early with end users, so that feedback can be incorporated, IT departments can develop some really powerful apps.  The example given at Bolton shows how it pays to adopt this sort of joined up thinking, taking feedback from end users, and looking at ways to extend the use of the technology, that will enable trusts to get greater value from their investment in mobile, and to provide a better experience to both clinician and patient alike.

We discussed several different examples of how healthcare organisations have harnessed mobile technology in our recent webinar presented by Victor Pizzolato, Global Manager, Imprivata Mobile and hosted by ITHealth. Find out more and view a recording of the webinar here.