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Mobile technology to save community healthcare

Mick Wayman, head of public sector, Vodafone UK | Aug. 31, 2015
The NHS and social care sector are yet to make best use of mobile technology to save money and improve care.

This vendor-written piece has been edited to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favour the submitter's approach.

Last November the National Information Board released a report that set out a vision for how technology should work harder and better for patients and citizens by 2020. The report highlighted the need to give care professionals and carers access to all the data, information and knowledge they need - in real time - and the requirement to improve mobile technology to make care outside of the hospital environment easier.

Care is increasingly being moved away from hospitals into patients' own homes. Community healthcare organisations, however, are finding their budgets and staff numbers are reducing, leaving community health leaders increasingly concerned about how to maintain and improve levels of care.

Whilst the challenge of identifying a cost effective way of delivering quality care to the public in the face of budget cuts and funding gaps is not new, the potential of technology in this scenario is yet to be realised.

Technology is vital to unlocking the greater efficiencies community healthcare organisations need to deliver, while maintaining, and wherever possible, improving levels of patient care.

At Vodafone, we believe the National Information Board report - which outlines ambitions to use technology to improve care outside of hospitals and provide access to digital tools and real time data - is moving healthcare in the right direction. And our latest research echoes this sentiment. Seventy percent of healthcare leaders believe providing community nurses with full access to information whilst in the community is a high priority aim.

Giving community healthcare professionals access to data and information is critical. It seems obvious to say that mobile technology can enable access to information, patient records and systems at point of care. However it is yet to be adopted on a mass scale. Encouragingly, over three-quarters of healthcare leaders believe increased use of new technologies is one of the most important factors for enabling progress in community healthcare.

For healthcare providers to maximise the amount of time they spend delivering care to patients, they need to be able to streamline processes. Administration, paperwork and travelling to and from the office eat into valuable time that could be spent in patient homes delivering care.

The use of secure mobile devices means frontline workers can update records from wherever they are, reducing both travel time and duplication. The latest Circle research for Vodafone found that community health workers spend an average of one day per week on administration; a burden that is leading to increased frustration, longer working hours and reduced time with patients.

Secure access to data is vital


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