Community nurses at Wolverhampton Primary Care Trust have gone live with 3G technology that allows them to access its iPM system and record patient activity.

A total of 60 nurses working for the community out-of-hours service in Wolverhampton have been given 3G enabled-laptops to enable remote access to the system provided by its local service provider.

Kamaljit Rai, clinical programme manager for the PCT, told EHI Primary Care that nurses log into the system using their NHS smartcards and are able to view planned and unplanned visits via the laptops, reallocate visits if an emergency occurs and record activity while undertaking patient visits in the community.

She added: ‘In the past everything was allocated on pieces of paper with handwritten sheets and the nurses wouldn’t know who else was involved in that patient’s care.

"Now, they can see straight away on the system if the patient already has, for example, a continence specialist or a chiropody referral in place. They can also send emails to make referrals to other allied services.”

Rai said she thought the project was particularly significant because it used a national application. In May or June next year, the PCT is due to take Lorenzo R1 for its community matrons and falls prevention service. Rai said the plan was to enable the out-of-hours nurses to be able to link to the Lorenzo software via the 3G technology.

Rai said the project had involved changes in the way the out-of-hours nursing team worked. She added: “Hand-holding is the key to any change process and the Clinical Informatics Specialist Team and IT sat with the nurses and worked closely with them as they got used to the system.”

Yvette Roach-Smith, clinical team leader for the out-of-hours nursing service, said the system enabled nurses to register their contact with patients in real time and also enabled them to access policies on the trust intranet if they have any queries while conducting patient visits.

She said: “Initially the nurses were worried that it would add to the time they spent on each patient visit, but that hasn’t happened. The staff can already see that it is making a positive impact. It makes a big difference to our data collection as data is recorded in real time.”

Stuart Cooper, head of IM&T Strategy, said this is the second service to benefit from the mobile devices and plans are already in place to roll this out to other services within the PCT.