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How to make technology work for you

In tough economic times the need to do more with less applies to all organisations in both the public and the private sectors. NHS Trusts are currently tasked with reducing costs by up to £20bn per annum and to offer greater integrated patient care. The two initiatives for this are QIPP and the Health and Social Care Act 2012, the essential question is can both of these be achieved with tangible results?

A way of reducing cost is to look at your existing business processes and communication channels and see if you can utilise your existing systems, but in a more efficient way. Developing a cohesive infrastructure which can integrate a number of disparate information systems with differing communication platforms enables you to create a communication community which works together to improve the communication flow between all teams and departments. As managers it is important for us to think about the best way in which technology can truly assist. Investment in technology can open up new and innovative ways of thinking and working, adopting a new approach can bring real cost benefits. An aspirational method of delivering information to point of use or care, is the increasing adoption of smart devices. These technologies are, in terms of the healthcare market, are still in their infancy. Whilst wireless technology adoption is happening, it is not as accepted as quickly as in other industries but it is happening. Understanding wireless, its impact and what it can deliver in terms of services and solutions is important. So how should the IT managers in a healthcare environment react? Do they need to demonstrate that they are ahead of the technology curve by always looking for the next advancement or could they really prove their

functional worth by utilising the technology they have and creating a strategic plan for the development and growth of communications options when they are viewed as most valuable and viable?

A considered and strategic approach to the adoption of new technologies can provide real benefits, but the impact should be understood. The IP and Wireless evolution will provide a creative force for change, with the development of solutions structured for the healthcare environment on the latest consumer style devices. There is not only an expectation, but a demand, that these solutions on sophisticated devices, such as SMART phones, will be available to new and young professionals entering the healthcare sector. Information can be obtained, shared or acted upon with ease. Information sharing is important, however data needs to be secure. IT managers need to ensure the resilience, security and integrity of all their data at all times.

In the end the question is one of balance, using we need to apply the right application to meet the actual need. This could be SMART phones for consultants, pagers for critical messages, DECT for mobile workforce etc. By ensuring that all of your communication devices work together on a single platform we can create a communication community where all have the right tools for the right role, information is delivered at the right time and on the right device. The most important function of technology is its ability to assist the user, not frustrate them. In healthcare critical messages must get through every time at any time.

With the right communication tools in place, any organisation can operate more efficiently and effectively. With the wrong tools information can become a burden.

We need to:

  • Identify what does not work well and understand what you do want to achieve
  • Choose the right device or solution for the right person, something new or existing
  • Maintain the integrity and auditability of your devices and information flow
  • Ensure that differing communication systems link together to create a working community
  • Your communication options should be easy-to-use and manage

The future of communications can be expensive, but it needn’t be, re-using and allocating devices wisely, whilst adopting the latest technology where needed, could pay for itself in better time management and increased performance.

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How to make technology work for you