Remote working and the digital landscape in the NHS
With the current increased risk of COVID-19 virus upon us, and the UK looking to work from home in the coming weeks, if their role allows, remote working technology will need to be high on the agenda of businesses looking to ride the storm. We want to bring you an overview of what technologies we think will help in today’s climate.
A speedy adoption of a digital ecosystem is necessary at times such as these. Some SME businesses have already started by instructing employees that all work will be done remotely including meetings and workshops, with staff using video conferencing rather than seeing people face to face.
Former GP, Dr Ruth Chambers, has championed the digital movement throughout our local area of North Staffordshire and has spoked widely around the issue of uptake within the NHS. Promoting the use of Skype for adopting video consultations effectively, for example in nursing homes, medication follow-ups and multidisciplinary team meetings.
From our viewpoint, the technological infrastructure in the NHS is not quite up to scratch when integrating with remote workers who need to use patient systems on encrypted laptops. So not all work will be accessible at home. However, there are plenty of highly usable conferencing technologies that can be utilised whether you are working whilst sat in an office, on the go on the ward, or at home.
We encourage all our NHS partners to utilize the technologies available to them for web conferencing rather than non-essential face to face meetings. If the NHS is to start using digital tech with their patients then staff need to be comfortable in using digital services themselves.
5 technologies Bitjam utilise
Whereby – https://whereby.com
Whereby is our go-to collaboration tool for hosting easy and reliable video meetings. All meetings are from your browser or mobile app. Simply send your guest (up to 4 people in one meeting) a link to your meeting space, they knock and you let them in, they do not need to log in!
Zoom – https://zoom.us/
Zoom is another great tool for web conferencing but this is more of a live event than just for meetings. Do you need something that is engaging for an online workshop? If the answer is yes then Zoom is for you. Gone are the days of simply looking at Powerpoint slides, or the days of Instant Teleseminar and just audio. Not only does Zoom bring video for the presenter, it also adds video for the attendees. You can access for free and stream full video replays. A firm favourite in the Bitjam office.
Whatsapp – https://www.whatsapp.com/
Whatsapp is one of the biggest players in the messaging market. An encrypted messaging service, which is now becoming ubiquitous in NHS hospitals and paramedic teams to chat about specific clinical subjects or in emergency situations to ensure speedy communication with hospital colleagues about what patient injuries to expect. We love that it is an encrypted service for messaging on the go.
Slack – https://slack.com/
We use Slack to stay in touch with colleagues one to one or in a group. We collaborate on projects and it’s great to know all team communication in one place. The things we love about Slack are that file sharing is simple, it integrates with our commonly used services and everything is searchable from one box.
Microsoft One Drive/Office 365 – https://www.office.com/
Microsoft One Drive is a storage service for hosting files in the cloud and offers users a simple way to store, sync and share various types of files, with other people and devices on the internet. It is integrated with Office 365 apps, which allow you to work from anywhere with all the functionality you would expect from desktop services, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneDrive and Teams, updated regularly with the latest features and security updates. It’s alternative, that is also widely adopted, is Google apps, a purely online version. Either will equip you sufficiently for remote working.
All of these changes in working need some progressive thinking within staff culture. Staff may not have ever used conferencing technologies in their working day and could feel daunted by the prospect of everything going digital. It’s important to encourage companies and NHS trusts to promote ‘best practice’ in remote working. A ‘digital champion’ could be on the end of the phone for employees who feel a bit lost in the digital landscape.
Last but not least, communicating with colleagues is crucial, to keep you accountable and on track with work projects. You never know, it could be the start of a flexible working revolution for business, as well as the fact that has been proved in China recently – no commute equals lower pollutions rates!