As care continues to shift further away from the hospital environment to a more local setting, it has never been more important to find innovative solutions to boost productivity for staff working in the community. Yet, as profound technology advances continue to revolutionise the way we conduct our lives, from online banking to Internet shopping, it seems that the NHS is failing to keep up.
I believe an effective community care model is the backbone of a high-performing health care system. By treating patients in their home and reducing hospital admissions, community care diminishes costs and offers a much-improved quality of life for the patient.
Frontline carers are vital in delivering both health and social services in the community, however by embracing mobile technology in their daily routines they can bring the two disciplines closer together.
It is no secret that health and social care integration is high on the UK Government’s agenda, particularly in regards to looking after older people. Our aging society is forcing local organisations such as councils, NHS boards, GPs and their Community Health Partnerships (CHPs) to work closer together, and there is a lot of strategic discussion and debate as to how to meet the Government’s directives. Maybe now is the time to take a bottom-up approach to integration and look at the practical ways we can support both sets of frontline workers in the first instance.
On 1st October, over 100 delegates from Local Authorities and other public sector organisations attended Mobile Scotland 2013 at COSLA Headquarters in Edinburgh. The event was hosted by TotalMobile and covered a range of topics surrounding mobile technology for the public sector in Scotland. The majority of Scotland’s 29 mainland councils were represented at the conference.
Mobile working within the public sector is on the increase in Scotland. A number of councils are using the technology to reduce administration and travel time and improve services. Implementation has allowed Authorities such as Aberdeen City Council to save up to £1.5m annually. Mobile working now presents an opportunity to allow for an integrated approach to providing care between NHS Trusts and social departments.
Scotland’s third largest local authority uses TotalMobile to change working practices and improve service delivery to 366,000 citizens
Fife Council is on target to realise efficiencies of £20M, after implementing a mobile working solution fromTotalMobile.
Scotland’s third-largest local authority is three years into a five year programme intended to increase efficiency and improve service delivery. TotalMobile was purchased at an enterprise level and is being implemented on a department by department basis, which Fife Council decided would yield the best return. It is currently deployed by the Building Services department within Fife Council, with a staged roll-out across the rest of the council to follow, including Housing and Neighbourhood and Streets, Parks and Open Spaces.
Linda Robertson, programme manager for mobile and flexible working at Fife Council, believes that implementing TotalMobile has led to the development of an entirely new working culture within Fife:
“We are facing an enormous financial challenge and mobile flexible working is one of the key enablers in keeping us on target, but this has also entailed changing the way we all work,” she said. “We have to give staff the tools to do their job in a new way, enabling them to work flexibly and remotely but at the same time delivering an improved service to the people of Fife. User adoption was key to all of this and our Building Services staff were fantastic advocates and early adopters of TotalMobile, demonstrating to the rest of the organisation the clear benefits it could bring.”