Two NHS organisations have worked together to produce a suite of reporting apps exclusively for the public healthcare organisation, aimed at helping hospitals overcome operational challenges.
Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust (WWL) worked with NHS Shared Business Services (SBS) to create the suite of apps, dubbed HealthIntell.
The apps have been designed to aid hospitals during challenging incidents, such as peak A&E times in the winter, along with supporting procurement processes and financial management.
Effectively the apps provide medical professionals with real-time information on waiting time targets and predictions on peaks and troughs in hospital admittances, such as bad weather or major sporting events which can trigger more patient admissions in A&E.
HealthIntell also features the Devolved Financial Management procurement application, which looks to help NHS hospitals manage their budgets and the monetary constraints they increasingly face.
David Morris, managing director at SBS, said HealthIntell provides the NHS with a platform to deliver health technology that improve cares yet reduces costs for hospitals.
"Its user-friendly applications support informed decision-making across the NHS, and will help make the health service more effective and efficient," he said.
HealthIntell is already in use at WWL. The Trust has already reported a reduction in the average total time a patient stays in A&E, with times reduced from 160 to 130 minutes between April 2014 and February 2015.
Information served up by the apps is also presented in the hospital through the use of 70in touchscreens installed in the A&E department.
The Trust said this helps ensure the right staff are in the right place to meet changes in patient influx and care demands, as well as ensuring departments have enough beds to support the numbers of patients likely to be admitted.
Rob Forster, acting chief executive at WWL, noted that HealthIntell helps the hospital plan ahead to cope with changing healthcare demands.
"At WWL we see 280 patients come into A&E every day, of which 60 will need a bed. To cope with this, and adhere to waiting time targets, we realised that having an accurate picture of what is happening is crucial. We can now plan ahead to meet demand," he noted.
The NHS is set to receive more healthcare apps, particularly as the government embarked on an NHS app testing scheme earlier in September in partnership with three software developers.
However, public healthcare organisations will need to pay close attention to how their apps collect data, particularly given how a number of NHS-accredited medical mobile apps were found to have been sending unencrypted medical information, prompting fears that patient data may be at risk from cyber attacks.
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