Alder Hey Children’s and Liverpool Women’s NHS Foundation Trusts are trialling a series of tablet computers in a ‘bring your own device to work’ scheme.

The pilot, primarily based at Liverpool Women’s, is part of a strategy aimed at lowering costs and improving mobile working at the trust.

It involves clinicians and staff using handheld devices such as the Apple iPad, Samsung Galaxy and Acer Iconia tablets.

“We are currently looking at what will be the best mobile devices to employ in our environment,” said Dr Zafar Chaudry, chief information officer for the two trusts.

“The ‘bring your own device’ is the buzz phrase at the moment. But we also have to look to the future as there is only so much longer that we [the trust] can fund every development.”

Ten staff at Liverpool Women’s have been using tablets that are secured by Kaseya’s mobile device management software, which allows the trust to wipe the tablets if they connect to the internet after they have been reported lost or stolen.

Dr Chaudry told EHI that clinicians have been using Samsung Galaxy and Acer Iconia devices in a clinical environment.

He said the Android and Microsoft 7 operating systems are well suited to clinical settings, because they enable staff to log-on efficiently and effectively.

In contrast, he said “certain quirks” in Apple’s iOS operating system, such as its reaction to a full memory, meant it was better deployed in non-clinical areas.

“Where we are finding iPads useful is in meetings, in the form of notes and PDFs, which is allowing us to trial and hold paperless meetings,” said Dr Chaudry.

If the ‘bring your own device’ pilot is a success, it could be expanded across the two trusts. This could deliver efficiency savings, as the majority of staff have these “devices, including laptops just sitting at home.”

Alder Hey is set to move to its new Children’s Health Park hospital in 2014. Liverpool Women’s is being used to test new technologies to enhance mobile working and a move towards a ‘paperlite’ environment.

This is being progressed through the initiation of a document management project with Dell, using Perceptive Software’s ImageNow system, which allows trusts to digitise their paperwork.

“We went live with ImageNow on 26 March and there is a big push to digitise 300,000 records, which will probably happen in the next 12 weeks,” said Dr Chaudry.

“We are looking to outsource the remaining 700,000 records in our system. This should save on off-site storage and hospital record staff as the new hospital will not have to store these records.”

The Dell document scanning project will be progressed as the trusts prepare for the implementation of a new electronic patient record system.

The two trusts went out to tender for a new EPR in August last year, and Dr Chaudry said the pre-qualification questionnaire phase is complete.

The organisations will now whittle down the suppliers to a shortlist of four, who will then be expected to demonstrate and detail how they will build an IT infrastructure suitable to the trusts’ requirements and budget.

The trusts have also launched a tender for a IT service desk, server, network, unified communications and mobile support, training standards and IT decommissioning in what is one of the biggest trust outsourcing deals to date.