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!
According to the Royal National Institute of Blind People. “Every day 250 people start to lose their sight in the UK. As of 2015, more than two million people in the UK are living with sight loss that is severe enough to have a significant impact on their daily lives, such as not being able to drive.” Plus “As of 2014, there are around 350,000 people registered as blind or partially sighted in the UK. This is approximately 290,000 in England; 16,500 in Wales; around 8000 in Northern Ireland and 34,000 in Scotland (2010 figures). “
This impact also affects the individuals ability to access vital day to day health service.
We are witnessing a shift in how public sector is providing services for the public, the shift from physical services to online, digital connected services. Here at Bitjam we have been exploring this shift and attempting to understand it from the perspective of people with visual impairments.
To explore this area, we have been working with Klaudia Suchowiak who is a blind person studying her third year at Keele University. Klaudia has dedicated her time through an internship to explore this and create a series of articles highlighting the challenges of accessing public services faced by visually impaired people.
The articles will also draw on experiences of where public services and especially digital services have got things right.
You can access the article free via the link below, all we ask is you pay back with a Tweet or LinkedIn post saying thank you
Over the next few weeks, Klaudia will be reviewing the applications and software we have designed and are currently working on, this will help us to better understand how our design principles and understanding can and will have a positive impact on end users.
We want to thank Klaudia for 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.
Next weekend at Bitjam we will be opening our doors to the public for the next ACAVA Studios: Spode Works open studios event. Each year a selection of studios welcome members of the public to come and see their work, holding demonstrations and workshops for people to take part in. Bitjam are hosting code workshops to demonstrate coding on a beginner level, so anybody, including children, can join in and learn on the day.
The 43 studios at ACAVA Studios: Spode Works are making a valuable contribution to the development of the Spode site, as a cultural centre for creative industries and the revitalisation of Stoke town. The studios are home to artists of traditional art forms such as painters and ceramicists, but with added contribution from more modern and technological expressions of art such as web developers and graphic designers.
As well as our code workshops, Bitjam are using the open day opportunity to showcase the Spode Works weather station which we’ve developed. The weather station is a digital machine which will tell you the weather conditions and can be found in the Bitjam studio, number 22. We’ve added an audio twist to make it relevant to the area, and the upcoming Stoke for UK City of Culture 2021 bid, by programming the weather station to deliver weather updates in “Stokie” dialect.
Further to our contribution to the city of culture bid, we’ve also been working on a computerised system that uses Stoke regional dialect to create poetry. The system is called ANNA and as part of the open day we’ll be putting our neighbour Fred Phillips to the challenge of creating equally as compelling poetry. We’ll have more details about “Fred Against the Machine”, information about workshop times and how you can help us to develop ANNA in our next blog post, out tomorrow.
ACAVA Studios: Spode Works open studios are next Saturday 7 / Sunday 8 October.