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!
The NHS is moving into the Digital Age with connected health apps and services. But is it accessible to all?
Bitjam has been working with Klaudia Suchowiak, a blind person studying her third year at Keele University. Klaudia has dedicated her time through an internship to reflect on her experience of digital health services, highlighting the challenges of accessing public services faced by visually impaired people.
Here at Bitjam we like to be challenged. Klaudia’s valuable work has helped us to better understand how our design principles and understanding can and will have a positive impact on end users.
You can access the 2nd article in the series, free via the link below, all we ask is you pay back with a Tweet or LinkedIn post saying thank you.
We want to thank Klaudia for her all her amazing work with Bitjam, also Keele University for creating this opportunity plus Santander for their involvement in setting up the programme that has enabled this to happen.
The views in this article are personal to the author and reflect their experience, without bias from Bitjam Limited.
Interested in healthcare or education innovation? Call or get in touch with the Midlands-based Bitjam team, for all your software research and development needs.
Nellie® is an SMS-based system underpinned by Simple Telehealth methodology, that’s been designed to encourage patient self-care, promote positive behaviour activation and improve the effectiveness of ongoing treatment.
“I do visualise Nellie as someone, giving me a prompt. She’s quite persistent!”
We worked closely with Simple Telehealth and SEMPHN bringing together evidence-based methodology, clinical best practice and modern software design to develop a clinical system where clinicians and patients can interact and communicate easily. The Nellie® system is designed for clinicians, by clinicians, allowing Doctors and Nurses to collaborate on the management of patient communications.
“Initially, it was somebody texting me, but now it’s become a friend”
One of the important outcomes of Nellie® is the social impact it’s had. The SMS and chatbot technologies have proven to enable positive behaviour changes.
“We’ve had some real success stories with Nellie®, from an educational perspective. People who’ve never exercised before consistently developing an exercise programme and really starting to understand the benefits of exercise”
We created a highly resilient, responsive system by working with existing Simple Telehealth methodology to develop the technology. The system creates best practice healthcare, advice and patient education, improved engagement and adherence and better and faster clinical outcomes.
We built the system with security as a key feature to ensure patient confidentiality, as well as considering the integration of third-party technologies with scalability in mind. The system is capable of being expanded internationally and scaling up to reach a wider end user.
The evaluation has started to give us the evidence we expected, suggesting the system is having a clinical impact. The Nellie® project demonstrates the ways in which even the most basic of technology is capable of kickstarting behaviour activation and encourages the continuation of a healthy routine.
“Since the introduction of Nellie® I’ve been motivated to walk and lost 7kg in weight. We’ve reduced a couple of tablets from 20mg to 5mg. Heart medication – 2 tablets a day to one, insulin, I was on 30 units, and now that’s down to 15 units a day, maybe 10. I’m amazed at the results”
To find out more, contact Carl at Bitjam.