How Does Mobile Working For Community Staff In The NHS Deliver Benefits?
How Does Mobile Working for Community Staff in the NHS Deliver Benefits?
The growth of mobile working within the NHS has been steady in recent years, fuelled by the increased availability of technology and IT systems which can support improved conditions for those practitioners who are out in the field with patients rather than tied to a single location.
However, until recently it has been relatively difficult to consider the real-terms impact of mobile working on the NHS as a whole, from the point of view of clinicians and the patients. Thankfully, a new report from the Department of Health has examined this area in depth and come back with some interesting and heartening results.
The report harvested information from 11 different trial sites across the NHS and found that mobile working is helping to make a real difference in several ways. First, the average saving for each and every clinician involved in the trial was £3,002 over the course of a year.
Second, patient referrals actually decreased by 9% across all sites, which suggests workers are better able to deal with issues in the field rather than having to send them in to departments that are already busy.
Third, the number of patients admitted to hospital in the area actually dropped by a little over a fifth, which is definitely the most noteworthy statistic to emerge from the pilot schemes, since it means more beds are made available for those who need them and less money needs to be spent on treating people within healthcare institutions.
All of these facts evidence the beneficial nature of mobile working within the NHS, since this is clearly a technology that has allowed clinicians to streamline their day-to-day operations, saving money and improving service to patients in the process.
In the NHS mobile working technology takes a number of forms, giving clinicians access to things such as patient records and treatment information while they are out and about without requiring that they return to their base of operations as regularly as they did in the past. It also involves the use of software applications to help organise the working day for staff and most importantly makes sure that they can gain access to all of these features irrespective of their location.
In a study conducted by the Transforming Community Services group it was found that the technological aspects of mobile working in the NHS are just half of the story. In order to make sure that this new approach to healthcare is one that is a long-term success, it is necessary to train and communicate with the end users, both clinicians and patients, throughout the process of adopting a mobile working strategy.
Work has been ongoing throughout 2012 in order to make it possible for managers to establish the wider effectiveness of mobile working within the NHS and in the wider communities where it has an impact. The trial schemes and pilots have been expanded and data are still being analysed to provide further insights for the future.
Thousands of healthcare workers are currently involved in migrating to a mobile-oriented approach to patient support and treatment, with further developments required to make sure that benefits continue to be better understood by staff and patients. It will be interesting to see just how far this ethos is pushed in the coming years, because the health service might eventually get to a point where more and more people are treated in their homes with exemplary levels of service, easing the pressure on overburdened, underfunded hospitals and giving clinicians a better shot at doing their jobs without any major obstacles in their way.
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