Telecoms to meet growing healthcare pressures
Growing healthcare pressures are not just an issue for clinicians and managers, but also receptionists and primary care workers such as health visitors.
With hospitals scheduling 113.3 million outpatient appointments in England in 2015/16 and GP surgeries handling around 72 GP appointments per 1,000 patients, the needs of employees managing this demand, including those who handle millions of out and inbound phone calls each year, must become central.
Mobile healthcare workers, including health visitors, community midwives and others out in the field, can work more efficiently if they are given the right communication tools.Healthcare practices can share best practice and team up with other practices to pool resources and share training and supervision, if they have the right equipment in place.
Telecoms and other IT equipment has a vital role to play in helping healthcare meet its challenges, improve working practices and increase efficiencies.
Ill-health absence is reported to cost the NHS ten million working days each year, around £1 in every £40 of the NHS budget. Poor posture caused by an inadequate working environment and badly sited equipment can lead to musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), which were the second most common reason for work absence after coughs and colds in 2016, according to the Office for National Statistics.
People who frequently use a phone need to be able to do this safely and comfortably. Handsets that are regularly cradled between neck and shoulder can lead to neck and back problems.
Wireless headsets enable staff to sit with a good posture which helps to protect the back and promote more comfortable, efficient working.
Wireless headsets with a range of 30 to 120 metres are an option for staff who need to get up and walk around, while corded headsets offer great audio quality for people likely to be at a desk for most of the day.
In busy departments with a lot of patient and staff interactions, some models of headset offer technology to minimise background noise and enable workers to answer calls by simply putting the headset on.
Enabling health visitors and community nurses to communicate and receive information through a range of integrated channels, whether a Bluetooth enabled headset, smartphone or tablet, each of which connects to the other, will save time and resources.
Headsets designed for users on the move can offer intelligent call transfer of Skype for Business calls to a smartphone, enabling field workers to meet with colleagues wherever they may be.
Skype for Business
Virtual meeting tools are invaluable assets for colleagues in different locations, and for managers and their teams looking to share best practice or work within a federation style set-up. Not only saving on travel time by allowing participants to meet wherever they are, the technology also allows people to share presentations and other documents on screen, achieving the next best thing to a face to face meeting.
Speakerphones with Bluetooth connectivity for tablets and smartphones enable users to communicate from any location, offering a wireless range of up to 30 metres on Class 1 devices.
Telecoms for primary healthcare
With practices needing to dedicate maximum resource to recruiting more GPs, pooling other human resources, with the support of better telecoms and IT equipment, could be a big solution.
Dr Neil Paul, a GP and commentator on primary care IT, says technology can help general practice to meet its pressures. He suggests GP practices band together to generate savings and work as efficiently as possible. He helped to set up a federation covering 30 local practices, that got funding from the CCG by also looking at service delivery. By pooling roles such as practice secretary or clinical coder, savings could go into new clinical staff. He says there is a huge role for Skype and similar services in providing support and getting everybody together without the need to commute.
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For more details on our telecoms solutions please telephone us on 0843 538 3311, email our technology team on technology@BannerUK.com or view Banner’s telecoms range at http://www.easyflip.co.uk/Banner_Telecoms_Guide2017/