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How the right digital tools can empower your healthcare workers

How the right digital tools can empower your healthcare workers
 
 

Author

Mark Burton

Mark Burton

Health & Social Care Lead

Virgin Media O2 Business

Blog

5 minutes

27th September 2022

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Healthcare’s frontline workers have felt the impact of Covid-19 more than most.

 

The whole service, its systems and people were put under immense new strain, almost overnight. There was a pressing and immediate need for more resources, temporary hospitals and different working practices, such as remote working.

 

Face-to-face GP appointments plummeted from around 80% to less than 10% in just weeks. Such rapid change was driven by necessity. The digital delivery of services, combined with the rise of hybrid working, has contributed to employee productivity rising by 6.7%.

 

There’s a big difference between hastily adopted emergency measures and smart, productive, long-term flexible working, however.

 

Empowerment of staff is key.

 

You need to put the right tools in your people’s hands wherever they happen to be, empowering them to do their job in a way that works for you, them, and the patients they care for. But what does this mean in practice?

Telemedicine is here to stay

Since the spring of 2020, remote care and virtual appointments have seen rapid growth, mirrored by the vertical drop in face-to-face appointments.

 

Telemedicine has transformed from the almost theoretical to an indispensable everyday reality. And the remote routine appointment is very much here to stay.

 

Beyond being an essential health measure at a time of crisis, it also provides substantial time and cost savings, and often delivers better patient outcomes.

 

The experiences of frontline workers at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London are revealing, showing how the right digital tools, technology and training can really deliver for clinicians, carers and patients.

 

80% of people got the treatment they needed online, with almost 95% giving the service they received the maximum rating of five stars.

Always-on patient care and service

Patients want to engage with the NHS and other healthcare organisations seamlessly, allowing them to easily receive advice, book their appointments and manage their healthcare needs digitally. This is backed by the NHS long-term plan to redesign how outpatients are treated, to avoid a third of visits — saving £1 billion a year.

 

Clinicians need to be empowered with innovative technology to make the most of telemedicine so, they can provide and improve patient care from anywhere.

 

To do this, they need intuitive tools that capture data and reduce the administrative burden that distracts from primary care. This, in turn, will enable them to use remote and virtual care technologies, cut unnecessary referrals, outpatient appointments and A&E visits.

 

Mobile technology is critical to helping solve the challenge of remote patient monitoring. It enables you to provide the same great patient care, away from confines of the hospital walls. For example, patients can fully recover from the comfort of their own home (whilst reducing the strain on hospitals beds) by utilising mobile technology to track and monitor patients rehabilitation remotely.

 

Graham Walsh, CCIO of Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Trust and a practising knee surgeon, has seen the benefits in practice: “knowing how your patient’s exercising, knowing that they’re hitting their goals — that, for me as a clinician, was great. Physios could pick and choose which patients they needed to see, so the right care was going to the right patient.”

 

The sector is already seeing the benefits for cardiac rehabilitation patients – remote mobile monitoring has proven to reduce readmissions by 40%. (British Medical Journal). 

 

This kind of empowerment and support is vital for digital transformation across healthcare. It’s about putting the latest and best tools in people’s hands, wherever they’re working from. It’s about enabling more convenient and collaborative interactions between patients and staff – voice, video, chat, social and more.

Build a culture of satisfaction

The process of empowerment is primarily driven by your organisation’s culture. It’s about your style of leadership, the respect and flexibility woven into the everyday. And it’s also about the opportunities for self-expression and individuality you create.

 

By providing the best tools, you make it happen.

 

A reliable, secure and stable cloud-based network and the latest mobile technology enable this process with ease. They can transform communication and collaboration, helping employees to do their best from anywhere, without restrictions.

 

In healthcare, core human qualities such as empathy and judgement based on face-to-face interaction are hugely important. And the right technology can keep these qualities at the forefront of care, even in a world of remote working.

 

A workforce set free to do what it does best is inevitably happier. Time and cost efficiencies reset the work/life balance to create a less frantic, ‘fire-fighting’ regime.

 

Happy, safe professionals are more engaged and therefore more productive and efficient.

 

In fact, your organisation is 82% more likely to provide a quality patient experience when you really focus on improving employee engagement.

Better outcomes all round

The ultimate outcome is improved patient care.

 

Content, well-resourced health professionals – equipped with exactly the tools they need – deliver a better service because they can quickly access data, communicate effectively with patients and collaborate with colleagues.

 

The traditionally complex, fragmented interoperability found in healthcare can be streamlined, making it much easier for multi-disciplinary teams to cut waiting times, see more patients, speed up referrals and provide better access to specialists.

 

Dan Parry, HSCN Lead Migration Programme Manager at NHS Digital, has seen the benefits first-hand: “The more information our clinicians can share, the better their ability to provide the best patient care.”

Grasping the mettle

Now is the time to invest in cloud-driven communication and collaboration tools, innovative digital technology and the development of new skills. This combination will empower staff and inspire confidence in patients who can be reassured that their sensitive data is safe and secure.

 

To get the most from your digital transformation journey, you need a new type of digital partner. That’s where we come in. Virgin Media Business and O2 Business have joined forces, so you can expect more. In addition to secure, reliable connectivity whenever and wherever it’s needed, we challenge more, achieve more and share more.

 

Check your vital signs today, then make sure you’re protecting every part of your organisation from cybercrime – your network, apps, devices and more.