App could save NHS hospital millions by replacing pagers

A new app called Medic Bleep hopes to save a hospital millions by improving communication between clinical staff – as the health service prepares for a digital revolution under the leadership of new health secretary Matt Hancock.

In a speech at West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, Hancock said that improved use of technology would be one of his main priorities.

He referred to the project at the hospital – an app that has enabled doctors and nurses to throw away antiquated pager technology in favour of a smartphone app.

Medic Creations, the health technology that designed Medic Bleep, said the app saves nurses more than 20 minutes per shift, and doctors more than 50 minutes per shift.

The easier communication between members of the care teams has improved operational efficiency and patient outcomes.

The trust already estimates potential savings of £4.5 million per year by freeing up the equivalent of 18 full time nurses, 18 full time junior doctors, and reducing litigation by up to 21% due to poor inter-team communications.

Changing the way that staff communicate with each other could save the NHS around £1 billion a year in operational benefits by reducing time wasted and improving operational efficiency, according to Medic Creations.

This could be achieved through managing increases in demand and reducing the number of cancelled operations.

The technology has already proved itself in a time and motion study at West Suffolk, thanks to several key improvements over conventional pagers.

Senders can write a text message with all required information, and see when it has been delivered and read, this prevents workflow disruption as staff no longer had to wait by a phone.

It also reduced medical errors through clear written instructions and clarifications, and has a better audit trial than a pager-based system.

Medic Creations’ founder and CEO, Dr Sandeep Bansal, said: “By adopting this modern smartphone app which provides a secure method of communication between staff, many of the communications challenges experienced using legacy systems will be resolved.”

“Following the success of the pilot my team are now working collaboratively with the staff at West Suffolk Foundation Trust Hospital on a trust-wide implementation.”

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