Community healthcare staff often continue visits to their offices, even after the introduction of mobile technology
The assumption that mobile technology will reduce staff visits to the office is flawed, according to representatives from NHS bodies that have introduced such schemes.
Two speakers at the Smart Healthcare Live event recounted how community healthcare staff have continued to go to offices, even when given technology for mobile working.
Andy Kinnear, head of the Avon IM&T Consortium, which serves primary care trusts in and around Bristol, said many staff have continued to go the office because "they like doing it". This has is despite being able to access files remotely, and has prevented the trust from obtaining the expected savings in time and travel costs.
The consortium has spent the past 12 months running a pilot of mobile technology for its clients' community staff. Kinnear said that staff had reacted in a mixed way, with some objecting to being contactable outside work hours, while others worked too hard.
A more specific problem came from many staff continuing their patterns of office visits. "The cultural challenge from the technology is wrapped up in a cultural challenge more generally," said Kinnear, as staff like visiting the office for professional and social reasons. But he added: "I don't want to overstress this as an insurmountable problem."
Adrian Byrne, director of information management and technology at Southampton University Hospitals trust, reported a similar pattern with its community maternity staff. But he added that there are other benefits, such as helping them find the most efficient route between appointments using GPS. It also enables rescheduling during the day: "You can reschedule their workload on the fly. You can download an extra job."
However, Kinnear also said that it was not worth trying to convert everyone to using remote technology if they were hostile. "Identifying champions is absolutely crucial," he said, with 5% to 10% having the energy and drive to help introduce the new systems.
A further 60% to 70% will follow, but the rest may refuse. In his area, he said that some nursing services in North Somerset are in a "we're not going to bother group," where it makes more sense to wait for people to retire then introduce the technology with new recruits.
Coverage of Smart Healthcare Live
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Read the complete post at http://www.guardian.co.uk/healthcare-network/2011/jun/24/mobile-technology-fails-staff-away-office
Jun 24 2011, 06:07 AM
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