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April 04, 2023

8 Ways NHS Clinical Staff Benefit from Better Mobility

8 Ways NHS Clinical Staff Benefit from Better Mobility

Dave O’Shaugnessy

Healthcare Solutions Consultant

In the UK, many workers are all too familiar with the concept of burnout.

Since COVID, many people have been forced to work longer hours and do more with less, straining both their health and relationships. This is especially true in the healthcare sector. During the pandemic, NHS employees up and down the country went above and beyond to meet the surge in demand. They continue to do so, today, in response to the demand for healthcare services that has subsequently built up, as a result of huge disruption.

According to a recent report from the House of Commons Health and Social Care Committee, chronic excessive workloads are a key cause of burnout in the NHS. Data from the British Medical Association shows that the NHS has 100,000 vacancies, causing staff shortages which in turn produce stressful working environments and higher staff turnover.

As clinical staff play a pivotal role in delivering healthcare, building better employee experiences and work–life balance doesn’t just benefit staff, but also creates a healthier future for us all. Of course, staff workload and wellbeing are complex, multifaceted issues. The King’s Fund suggests giving teams time and space for reflection, learning, creativity and innovation. But to create that time and space, work must be shared among more employees, automated, or even removed.

By Thinking Connected, trusts can transform clinical workflows to make greater staff mobility possible, alleviate staff pressure by improving care-team coordination, and increase direct patient-facing time and care for clinical staff―ultimately improving patient outcomes.

1. Swapping pagers for smartphones or tablets

Patients enter clinical settings with powerful smartphones, yet the staff who serve them are still connecting via legacy pagers which are not fit for purpose in modern digital healthcare environments. There’s no way for clinical staff to tell the urgency or priority of a page, and it can be difficult to delegate a page to other staff coming on-shift – problems that are eliminated by smart devices with collaboration and communication features.

2. Making clinical workflows easier for staff

With digital apps like Electronic Health Records being deployed in hospitals, there’s a great opportunity to integrate real-time communications and collaboration services into clinical workflow applications, such as EHR apps; making it easier to conduct and manage the work demands on both staff and the wider hospital.

3. Cutting alarm notifications by centralising comms and escalation

By consolidating legacy alarm and notification systems in a ‘trust-wide workplace client’, including wall phones, personal devices, pages, and bedside alerts, trusts can equip staff as well as patients with a modern, connected, intuitive experience. Making it easier to access integrated, intuitive communications this way improves overall healthcare service as well as both staff and patient satisfaction levels.

4. Enabling on-call role-based communications on smart devices

Contacting an on-call specialist during a shift can be frustrating and associating a staff member with those on-call specialities can be drawn-out. Intelligent digital communication solutions on mobile devices make it easy for staff members to contact on-call specialists and for those specialists to associate their mobile device with published contact numbers, improving care-team communications for everyone.

5. Making digital services intuitive, secure, and easy to access

Facilitating staff with single-sign-on and role-based access to digital health systems and communications services improves usability, confidence, and overall service security. It also removes complex demands on staff user experiences. This enables a roles-based workflow, removes unnecessary admin, and boosts capacity.

6. Enabling in-patient self-service via their own smart device

Isolating a patient’s needs in the moment and routing them to the best-fit service, help-resource, or staff-member helps prioritise clinical staff time and attention. Enabling patients to self-serve via smart device apps for services like assistance, catering, and general queries also helps improve patient experiences and overall satisfaction.

7. Delivering secure, authenticated, and feature-rich communications

Hospital staff often use unsecure apps, such as WhatsApp or Snapchat, to communicate. Giving them secure Instant Messaging, Voice, Video, and Group-Conferencing not only makes it faster to search for contacts and phone-numbers, or for call operators to find colleagues, but also gives them a simple and enjoyable communications experience. The above recommendations all focus on hospital staff workflows. Here’s one for the workflow of Trusts’ IT and Development teams. 

8. Take advantage of open APIs on top of your communication 8 and collaboration services

This allows IT to build, customise, and maintain workflows that deliver digital patient and staff experiences with all the major friction points removed. Standardised connectors and APIs integrate new workflows with existing operational and clinical systems. For the biggest impact on transforming staff workflows, IT and dev teams can use open APIs to easily get them connected with specific individuals, data records, or devices-taking minimal Trust time and resources.


Learn more about how your trust can Think Connected and give clinical staff better mobility with our NHS Vision Pack.

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