Lack of Real-Time Information Stopping Community Healthcare Workers Doing Their Jobs

07 July 2014

A lack of access to real-time patient information is affecting the ability of 88% of community health workers to perform their roles, according to a study of 17 healthcare organisations throughout the UK.

The research, undertaken by mobile solutions provider, TotalMobile, questioned community nurses, health visitors, mental health nurses, and matrons, among others. It underscored a strong need to access clinical information in real-time, and exposed how simple connectivity issues are impacting on the NHS’s goal of becoming a ‘paperless’ organisation by 2018.

More than 85% of participants said poor device connectivity was preventing them from completing tasks, suggesting there is a requirement for applications that work both on and offline for maximum productivity, according to Colin Reid, TotalMobile’s chief executive.

“Frequent lack of connectivity at the point of care is one of the biggest challenges facing mobile health workers and a key consideration for healthcare organisations when implementing successful mobile strategies in community environments” he said.

“Our study clearly shows lack of access to clinical information in real-time has a significant impact on community health workers’ efficiency and effectiveness.”

However, according to the results, 70% of participants said mobile working technology had resulted in greater patient involvement in care and the management of conditions, and had also improved the quality of visits, with more time focused on treatment.

Of the participants in the study who did not have access to mobile technology, 66% said they thought it would not only improve their working routine, but also the care they provided to patients.
Almost a fifth of respondents said they spent more than 10 hours a week - the equivalent of more than two hours a day - on a combination of travelling back to base to file reports, and other administrative tasks – time that could be spent providing enhanced patient care or home visits.

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