The study undertaken by mobile solutions provider, TotalMobile, questioned community nurses, health visitors, mental health nurses, and matrons, among others. It underscored a strong need to access clinical information in real-time, and exposed how simple connectivity issues are impacting on the NHS’ goal of going 'paperless' by 2018.
Over 85% of participants said poor device connectivity was preventing them from completing tasks, suggesting there is a requirement for applications that work both on and offline for maximum productivity, according to Colin Reid, TotalMobile's CEO.
"Frequent lack of connectivity at the point of care is one of the biggest challenges facing mobile health workers and a key consideration for healthcare organisations when implementing successful mobile strategies in community environments, explained Reid. "Our study clearly shows lack of access to clinical information in real-time has a significant impact on community health workers' efficiency and effectiveness. However, 70% of participants said mobile working technology had resulted in greater patient involvement in care and the management of conditions, and had also improved the quality of visits, with more time focused on treatment.
Of the participants in the study who did not have access to mobile technology, 66% said they thought it would not only improve their working routine, but also the care they provided to patients.
Almost a fifth of respondents said they spent more than ten hours a week, the equivalent of more than two hours per day, on a combination of travelling back to base to file reports, and other administrative tasks - time that could be spent providing enhanced patient care or home visits.
Reid said: "I believe there are growing levels of frustration among community workers caused by paperwork, bureaucracy and poor technology; especially as more and more patients are diverted away from A&E and into the community. Failure to keep up with the technological innovations revolutionising our everyday lives means community health workers are being taken away from what they joined the health service to do - care for patients."
Accessing patients' clinical information via a mobile device at the point of care had helped lessen the stress of the daily workload according to 50% of the respondents, underlining the importance of user-friendly technology that focuses on the users' said Reid.
He concluded: "This study demonstrates the need for community healthcare workers to access seamless and secure information in real-time. Benefits include improved patient experience at point of contact, better service efficiency, and reductions in stress for front-line community health workers. Access to clinical information is thoroughly embedded at hospital and medical centre locations, however, it has been very slow to gain momentum into community settings, and this must change to alleviate the pressure on mobile healthcare workers."
Founded in 1985, Belfast-headquartered TotalMobile Ltd. is recognised as the international mobile expert. With a wealth of industry experience, including more than 130 UK-based professionals, it offers innovative software solutions that revolutionise the way in which national and local governments as well as private firms make efficiency savings.
TotalMobile has invested millions in research and development, to create the TotalMobile for Healthcare solution. It allows healthcare providers to save money while doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals have more time to spend with patients, enabling users to improve patient safety and care quality via a simple native app, on all mobile devices and platforms.