Traditionally the NHS has operated through a paper-based model with staff sharing workstations on a central system. But, as Sally Elliott, Surface Portfolio Lead at Microsoft UK says, streamlining patient care with cloud-enabled collaboration tools should be a high priority.

Digitising the NHS remains one of the government’s most pressing challenges. Most recently, the Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock launched his vision for technology to improve patient care and position the service as a world-leader in innovative healthcare. This however is no mean feat but we’re making progress with services such as NHS Scotland innovating with cloud-based software to empower staff and improve overall care.

Whilst significant advances are being made, firstline workers still find themselves heavily reliant on unreliable processes, such as paper trails, and with significant time pressures they are unable to give patients the sufficient care and attention they need and deserve.

Moving to mobile to keep the hospital

running seamlessly A&E receptionists, bed managers, porters, pharmacists, doctors and nurses are the heart and soul of the healthcare sector dealing with patients at every step of their journey, from admission to discharge. Their roles are driven critically by information and the need to detail every symptom and piece of personal data as accurately as possible is imperative. Yet without mobile technology, maintaining this seamless flow of information is increasingly difficult and can often lead to disjointed services across the hospital.

Traditionally our NHS has operated through a paper- based model with staff returning to a shared workstation to log notes on to a central system. Today this is unreliable and can often lead to longer patient wait times, or down time of essential practises and facilities. Trusts such as the Isle of Wight NHS are already embracing digital tools to tackle paperwork and become more agile and efficient. The trust uses digital inking and collaboration tools to complete tasks such as signing online documents and recording patient data, which is then instantly stored securely in the cloud where staff can collaborate in real- time from anywhere.

Technology fueled cross-department collaboration has profound benefits for patients, particularly when we consider better connecting services such as the pharmacy to the wider hospital. Cutting wait times and less delays ultimately means a patient can be discharged on time or can effectively finish their treatment.

When we think about taking this mobile collaboration one step further, staff across the board can reimagine the way hospital facilities operate. For example, mechanical and


electrical maintenance can log issues with equipment accurately instantly and can even draw on collaboration and communication tools to work alongside remote colleagues or technical experts who can help guide them through repairs for as little downtime as possible.

Empowering a hospital’s most important

asset: its staff A hospital trust we work with here in the UK deals with an incredible one million patients every 36 hours, so being able to effectively and efficiently coordinate care is critical. Patients move through a myriad of services during their time at hospital and making sure the various departments and services communicate is essential to a seamless experience that inspires confidence and trust.

Implementing a unified mobile system whereby employees across a patient’s hospital journey can communicate and collaborate wherever they are is key to sustaining the flow of information and facilitating quick and often life changing decisions.

“Collaboration tools coupled with interactive data visualisation tools have the potential to optimise

patient flow and bed capacity keeping patients safe.”

Mobile technology with cloud-enabled collaboration tools can bring people from disparate teams together for good - keeping the hospital running seamlessly, reducing patient wait times and maintaining a high standard of patient care. This is particularly important for tackling common hospital challenges such as bed management. Collaboration tools coupled with interactive data visualisation tools have the potential to optimise patient flow and bed capacity keeping patients safe.

Technology enables hospitals to maximise two of its greatest assets: people and information. Only by amplifying the potential of every member of staff in our NHS to work more collaboratively and efficiently, will our trusts be able to deliver the best care and attention that patients need and deserve.

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