Mobile and ICT healthcare company Ascom UK has won a contract to supply more than 300 of its smartphones to replace pagers at Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust.
Emergency medicine consultant Dr Matt Shepherd said: “The Ascom technology will help clinicians communicate within and across clinical teams in a more effective way. It means we won’t waste time waiting for phone calls or people to be available, and the constant interruptions from bleeps. It will also allow us to have richer alerts and escalation processes from our current patient IT systems.
“I hope this will improve patient care by allowing us to spend more time face to face with patients, and less time looking for information we need or trying to get hold of colleagues.”
Ascom will deploy 330 of its new Myco 3 smartphone, 45 Myco 2 and its Unite AlertTrac critical messaging software at Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust, which employs 4,500 staff across Harrogate and Ripon hospitals and the wider community. The three-year contract comes as health secretary Matt Hancock has pledged to phase out the use of pagers in the NHS by 2021.
The technology, being deployed across all clinical areas including outpatients, will enable the Trust to send customised alerts and critical messages to clinical and support staff on the move so that they can respond more quickly to emergency calls.
The Ascom technology will enable access to WebV, the Trust’s own electronic patient record system, and integration with Patientrack, an electronic observations system that will send alerts and clinical information to the devices when patients are showing signs of deterioration. The devices will also be linked to the Trust’s telephone system, so calls can be put straight through to clinicians.
Former pediatrics nurse Robin Pitts, who is the Trust’s clinical IT and change manager said: “We chose Ascom because we need to move away from devices that perform only one task, to technology that improves and speeds up communication.
“A traditional pager simply receives a message and informs the holder that the message has arrived. There is usually no context to the message, just a telephone number to ring. The recipient then must perform many additional steps to understand the reason for the message and to identify and communicate with the sender.”
Ascom managing director Paul Lawrence added: “We are delighted that a leading NHS Trust like Harrogate is adopting our state-of-the-art technology. Myco smartphones provide a sophisticated alternative to pagers, and Ascom has the capability to integrate them seamlessly with existing hospital technology anywhere in the NHS.”