Technology can improve the experience of patient, visitor and staff inside hospital buildings, ensuring people and equipment are where they need to be. From health monitoring to remote care, new technology is helping our healthcare professionals to become more person-centred, prevention-focused and efficient. Joe Fernandes discusses how digital health and care solutions provide a wide variety of support for the NHS. Here are just a few:
Wayfinding is an important step forward in making hospitals become more patient-oriented. It also saves the hospital time and money, and BuzzStreets is determined to help by revolutionising the Geolocation industry through mapping, navigation, and the tracking of people and objects in complex indoor and outdoor environments. This then improves hospital visitor and staff experiences. The system helps plan and optimise spaces by recording user analytics and providing hospital managers with an understanding of user indoor behaviour.
More than 85% of patients ask for directions when they go to a hospital or other public health facility, and 30% of first-time visitors get lost. Wayfinding enables patients and other visitors to navigate from outside the hospital all the way to the specific location they need, whether that is a bed on a ward, a consulting room, the café, or the pharmacy.
This saves staff time: many times a day doctors and nurses are stopped (and therefore delayed) by visitors asking for directions; and often patients are late for appointments as they are lost within the hospital. Indoor Wayfinding solves both these problems.
BuzzStreets indoor way-finder for hospitals—which could help the NHS save over £240million per year—has already been successfully piloted at Chelsea & Westminster Hospital and is being rolled out to other hospital Trusts around the UK, starting with West Middlesex University Hospital.
Virtual wards (also known as remote patient monitoring) is a reimagining of patient care. Teaming up mobile phones and wearable health technology allows clinicians to keep a watchful eye on patients outside of hospitals. Data is sent back to the hospital in real-time and if a patient’s vitals were to go downhill, a doctor or nurse can call the patient into the hospital for immediate treatment.
Virtual ward company Doccla, which works with hospitals in Northampton, Cambridge, County Durham, Hertfordshire and Essex, lists benefits such as early discharge of patients (because care can continue at home), fewer readmissions, and lower costs (savings of up to 35%).
The pandemic supercharged the adoption of this tech, and it is being rolled out to patients with other chronic conditions.
‘NHS Book a virtual visit’ allows busy ward staff to book—easily and quickly and safely—visits between patients and their loved ones, wherever in the world those friends and family may be. Minimal data is required for this cloud-based service that was created within the principles of open source and to NHS Digital and Government Digital Service standards. It works across all operating systems and requires no third-party application installation. So, it can be accessed via any website browser and works across all devices.
Software company Made Tech were tasked with creating a system that had to work on ward Wi-Fi and on a variety of devices, and that had to be simple for patients, clinicians and ward staff to use. In the first five months of being introduced at Kettering General Hospital, ‘NHS Book a virtual visit’ facilitated over 900 visits, across 25 wards, averaging calls of 50 minutes between patients and loved ones. This included the Emergency Department, where ‘NHS Book a virtual visit’ is now facilitating communication in short stay wards, where patients might not have access to their own communication device.
Currently live across more than 70 NHS Trusts and 40 private hospitals, the app allows hospital staff to display live news, find the latest protocols, search, call or message all colleagues via the preloaded directory, and users do not need to share any personal details, including their own mobile number.
As we live longer, demands on medical services will increase and innovation in technology is crucial to ensuring the NHS is supported and can continue to provide the highest levels of care.
About the author
Joe Fernandes, founder and CEO of BuzzStreets, an award-winning navigation platform, that enables organisations (hospitals, shopping malls, airports, offices, stadiums, etc.) to offer their customers an indoor way-finder that allows them to navigate inside the building. The client arrives at the entrance or reception and then uses the bespoke app to navigate to the specific location (room, shop, check-in, office, or even seat) they need. BuzzStreets also supplies movement analytics that can help improve building efficiency and keep track of vital equipment.
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