Now is the time for digital transformation in the NHS

The drive to replace non-critical paging in NHS hospitals by the end of 2021 presents an opportunity to go even further, placing new technology at the heart of day-to-day operations.

The NHS has taken flak from some quarters for being slow to embrace new technologies. However, with tight budgets, it’s understandable that Trusts would focus investment on direct patient care, through new medical equipment and treatments, rather than on the hospitals’ communications infrastructure, which, though ageing, works.

Having said that, there are clearly great efficiencies to be gained through the adoption of modern technologies. By providing a procurement framework and funding to NHS Trusts, NHSX have given the process a kick-start. Giving NHS staff access to fully secure, compliant and tailor-made clinical communication apps will deliver huge improvements in their ability to collaborate, making treatment decisions better, quicker and easier. This will have the effect of reducing waiting times and improving patient satisfaction.

As hospitals adopt these new clinical collaboration tools, there is a golden opportunity to rethink the communications and processes throughout the entire hospital – what about security, maintenance and bed management? With automation, integration, and smarter communications, it’s possible to drive improvement across the board, creating a more efficient, cost-effective and safer workplace for everyone.

There is plenty of choice in the digital health marketplace, with various solutions for everything from staff safety alarms to asset tracking and management; consider just how much time staff waste looking for what they need to do their jobs. Eliminate this waste by giving them the ability to look up the location and status of all the hospital’s key equipment on their phones, and you give them significantly more time to spend on patient care. Meanwhile, wherever they are, on-duty maintenance staff can be notified immediately when a piece of equipment needs servicing, minimising its unavailability. An RFID or BLE-based asset tracking system is also a boon for infection control – something particularly relevant today.

There is a danger in such a comprehensive transformation, however – that processes could become disjointed and inefficient through lack of interoperability and interconnectedness. Just as a doctor may have to take a photo with a digital camera now, then upload it onto an ageing computer, then send it by email, hospitals could find themselves in a situation where staff have to constantly log in and out of different systems, look up contact details or switch to different apps depending on what they need to accomplish.

The solution is to choose a provider which can deliver a comprehensive, integrative and modular platform for digital transformation: one that can support and integrate existing equipment and processes where still needed, can provide clinical communications tools to meet the requirement to end non-critical paging, and one which can provide a plethora of other tools and systems for the entire hospital. Thanks to our i-Message platform, already used by many NHS hospitals, that’s what Multitone can deliver.

Learn more about our healthcare communications & asset management solutions here.