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!
Digital Health Technologies
Collaborating is in our blood. Partnering with like-minded businesses is how we work, enabling us to improve lives, especially in the healthcare sector.
Funded by Innovate UK, Bitjam has partnered with a large hospital trust, and three innovative health technology companies to deliver ‘Smart with your Heart’.
The £1.2 million project at University Hospitals of North Midlands (UHNM) is enabling heart failure patients to better care for themselves and prevent readmissions into the hospital.
With the support of community staff at Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, 300 patients are piloting 3 digital health technologies:
Florence is a telehealth SMS service powered by Bitjams software and Simpletelehealths methodology. It enables patients to respond to text messages asking how they are feeling compared to their last text message – same, better or worse, or ask how they are against a professionally designed symptom checker. Information is collated by the telehealth co-ordinator and circulated to clinicians if necessary.
Recap Health is an online health library holding videos and information tailored to patients’ need and condition, aiding self-managed care.
“Patients are better informed and better able to self care effectively”Recap Health
“So far, the technology is working. I’m still on the recovery path but using Florence and the Recap Health means I don’t have to keep going back to hospital and I feel that there is help and support should I need it.”Kelly, patient
he final tool in the box of these heart failure patients is i-Navigator . A social prescribing tool, which is a key component in the NHS vision of Universal Personalised Care. Patients can be easily referred to link workers from range of local health and public service agencies. Self-referral is encouraged.
We are living in an age where smartphones have become instruments for creating monumental change for individuals, social groups, cultures and communities around the globe. It is estimated that this project alone could lead to 24,000 fewer hospital admissions in the region, 240,000 fewer bed days and save the NHS £60m.
Bitjam was created to be a part of this positive change. From geeking out combining music with technology to working with Australian healthcare providers on important projects, using technology for social good is at the forefront of what we do. Our work with the public sector, including healthcare, charities and education, continues to inspire us. We’ve learnt about so many issues that affect many people around the world on a daily basis and had the chance to brainstorm with some incredible people to create simple technological solutions.
It was great to be working alongside the main partners of an innovative piece of work to make an impact on enhancing patient care. For more information on the Smart with your Heart project please contact UHNM.
For the latest news from the Bitjam team follow us on social media. To collaborate with us please contact Carl Plant.
B Corporation: Application stage
Here at the Smart Innovation Hub we are looking to the future and using our expertise in business as a force for good.
Bitjam has strong ethical values and we are adept at utilising technology for social good. That’s why we are in the process of applying for B Corps certification. B Corp status is described as being the business equivalent to the Fair Trade certification for goods
The B Corp community works toward reduced inequality, lower levels of poverty, a healthier environment, stronger communities, and the creation of more high quality jobs with dignity and purpose.B Corps
We are in the process of completing the rigorous questions on how our company interacts with workers, customers, community, and environment.
We believe the invest we are making into the application will shine a light on what we do and what we stand for as a company. Our commitment towards improving society and the environment remains strong and working together with Keele University and being based within the Keele Smart energy network demonstrator (SEND) will help us to continually improve.
The combination of third-party validation, public transparency, and legal accountability help Certified B Corps build trust and value. B Corp Certification is administered by the non-profit B Lab. For more information please visit their website.