How an instant communication app can give NHS nurses time back

Dr Sandeep Bansal, CEO of Medic Creations, comments on a study that suggests NHS nurses could save time using an instant-communication solution as opposed to a traditional pager system.

A study has found that on average NHS nurses could save 21 minutes per shift using instant-communication solution Medic Bleep, rather than the traditional pager-based systems. The time-saving could be given back to nurses to care for patients.

The research also found that on average junior doctors could save 48 minutes per shift.

The study, which took place at West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (WSFT) in 2017, monitored the ease and time taken to communicate for healthcare professionals between themselves, using the pager-based system and Medic Bleep.

The study participants were extremely likely to recommend Medic Bleep to a friend, with an average score of 8.7 (with 1 being unlikely and 10 being extremely likely). While they begrudged the current communications for having to ‘wait for the phone’ (after being bleeped with the traditional pager) and being constantly interrupted by non-urgent messages.

Medic Bleep, created by Medic Creations, is a mobile messaging system that replaces pager-based systems. The system operates across mobile phones, tablets and computers to facilitate information governance-compliant communication with features tailored for healthcare professionals to deliver enhanced patient care. It increases the efficiency of the staff communication flow, improves the patient-clinician experience and reduces staff frustration.

The results, published in the Digital Health Journal, show that Medic Bleep reduced time spent on the tasks requiring interpersonal communication, with efficiencies were seen in everyday tasks, such as: patient discharges, patient reviews and medication dispensation.

Dr Nick Jenkins, medical director at WSFT, said: “We are intending to use Medic Bleep for everything from arranging shift cover to sharing patient observations. This is about a digital tool helping communication to become more efficient; contact with other clinicians can be made much more easily than with a pager, and responses are much quicker. All that time we save can be spent caring for patients. So we benefit, but more importantly, our patients benefit too.”

The participating doctors and nurses completed a questionnaire about their experience of Medic Bleep compared to the traditional pager. This revealed that the healthcare professionals felt the use of Medic Bleep may offer a better quality of work life, citing reasons such as: more patients seen, more time for patient care, less distraction in workflow and easier communication.

They were also grateful for Medic Bleep’s ability to triage tasks and reduce bottlenecks in their workflow.

Piers Ricketts, chief executive of Eastern Academic Health Science Network, speaking about the recent Topol Review calling for a digitally-ready NHS workforce said: “The Topol Review explores the implications of digital developments in the NHS, including how to prepare and train the healthcare workforce to transform the way they care for patients. One of the review’s conclusions is that the adoption of technology should be used to give healthcare staff more time to care and interact directly with patients. Medic Bleep is a great example of how technology in this area can free up clinical time and hence contribute to improved patient outcomes. We are delighted to continue to be supporting Medic Bleep and wish them continuing success.”

Dr Sandeep Bansal said: “As a clinician myself and my personal experience of managing nursing homes, it has always been important to me that our solution is grounded in a strong evidence base and can show real value to the NHS and social care. This study highlights that Medic Bleep can help doctors and nurses get on with what they do best – caring for their patients – while improving efficiency in the NHS.

“However, this isn’t just a case of replacing the pager with Medic Bleep, as this is a change to the communications and operational processes within an NHS trust or healthcare system. It also requires strong IT infrastructure to be in place, which can take time to get right.

“We’re delighted with the progress being made at West Suffolk, but are excited about what further improvements we can make to support the Trust, staff and patients.”

The study was led by Rahul Menon, medical student at Imperial College London, and Dr Christopher Rivett, Barts Health NHS Trust.

West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust and Eastern Academic Health Science Network have supported the study, and further evaluation of Medic Bleep’s use at the Trust is ongoing.


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