iPads Improve Emergency Care Under NHS Long Term Plan
Arming ambulances with top tech is great step, but an integrated approach is vital.
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NHS Improvement recently announced that that ambulance crews across England have been issued with tens of thousands of iPads in a bid to speed up patient care.
The 30,000 tablets will allow ambulance crews to send images of patients to specialists for immediate decisions about how and where to best treat patients, and in addition to sending data, crews will also be able to access vital patient records to help better assess emergency situations at the scene.
It’s an excellent example of technology being used not as a crutch, but as a facilitator. By speeding and enabling the sharing of vital information between front-line emergency responders and hospitals, the technology helps deliver even better care at the scene of an incident by effectively “bringing specialists into the back of the ambulance”, and enables faster, smoother handovers as patients are brought into hospital for emergency treatment.
The initiative is presented as an example of the health service’s “commitment to innovating and harnessing technology to improve patient care as part of the NHS Long Term Plan” and as an example of how the quick and seamless integration of data can improve outcomes on the front lines of patient care. But it also serves as an excellent reminder of why that integration is so important throughout NHS trusts, all the way from board to ward and between services.
Unfortunately, a great many trusts around the UK find themselves hampered by outdated, laborious manual systems for their quality assurance and performance management, with spreadsheets, reports and assurance data scattered across multiple disparate systems, making it difficult to get a coherent, triangulated view. All too many front-line care providers find themselves disengaged from their Trust’s overall outcomes because they lack a transparent, joined-up view of how their actions connect up to deliver the quality of care and outcomes being achieved. Trusts often lack a single place to capture their quality audits, check lists, actions, medicine and IPC audit, NICE compliance, along with discussions and evidence for complete action assurance.
Even worse, many trusts find themselves duplicating efforts and thus wasting precious time, money, and resources because their overall approaches have been uncoordinated and disjointed. Information is mistrusted because it can be outdated or inaccurate, while actions go ungoverned and aren’t aligned to achieve the best patient outcomes.
The new iPad initiative is certainly an innovative and useful step in the right direction, and if technology is to truly make a lasting improvement in our Trusts, it shouldn’t just add more tools and create more data – it needs to also collect and collate disparate data and information from multiple sources, triangulate that information to present to the right people at the right time, enabling collaboration, decision-making and action tracking in real-time and join it all together in a single, trusted version of the truth.
When used correctly, technology will form a “golden thread” that runs seamlessly and consistently throughout our healthcare system - all the way from the ambulance crews making life-or-death decisions on the scene to the board making equally important strategic decisions based on trusted, timely information.
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As our Chief Executive and Founder, Robert has been the visionary leading InPhase to be one of the UK's leading providers of business management, governance and assurance solutions, and helping organisations align their actions and goals more easily and efficiently with InPhase's suite of integrated apps.