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.
2018 has opened lots of opportunity for us to focus on more data and IoT projects recently, including Staffordshire-based environmental measurement and control company Meaco.
“(Meaco provide) a range of environmental monitoring and control equipment to include data loggers, handheld devices, humidifiers, dehumidifiers and controllers”.
They specialise in providing products and services for high profile national treasures including museums, industrial archives, heritage sites and financial institutions.
Bitjam are to provide a modern solution to replace the current, soon-to-be outmoded hardware and provide effective and highly secure software. To discover more about the project, we’re using our R&D cycle to decipher the requirements, to accurately develop and test hardware and to build appropriate software with scalability in mind.
Currently we’re in the process of getting two units working in the field trial. This has involved the setup of Raspberry Pi’s with software and security configuration, and installing in two different real-situation environments such as a museum or bank.
The project is part of a longer process of working in partnership with Meaco to replace existing software to more modernised and scalable cloud-based technology.
The technology will revolutionise the way that Meaco provide high profile partner services, who deliver a mostly public sector service themselves. This boost of their services has a social benefit so it’s an appealing project to us, as it’s our preference to work in partnership with companies who have a similarly social vision.
We are working in partnership with Meaco director and system creator Michael Hall to innovate the entire system, which has given us a very hands-on experience (something we very much prefer to do at bitjam!). Together we’re working through the challenges of innovating the systems in such a way that business as usual is not affected and that clients are not disrupted during the transition.
If you have an IoT project with a social or public sector benefit and need a partner to develop both hardware and/or software, get in touch! You can drop us an email for a chat at [email protected]
Also, if you have requirements for an environmental monitoring system, we can highly recommend Meaco.
Contact Michael at [email protected]