Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals has rolled out a responder smartphone app in A&E to increase communication in emergencies.

The BlackBerry app, created by mobile technology company PageOne, assigns staff to ‘smartgroups’ based on the emergencies that they are qualified to respond to.

The trust’s emergency planning officer David Bays told eHealth Insider that the app, which is a part of the trust’s major upgrade of its emergency response facilities, had simplified the daily administration of A&E.

“When there’s an incident we will log-on to the web-based system and send out a message to a dedicated group. The person who is in front of the PC can monitor the information that’s coming in.”

Once a message is initiated, the administrative staff can see at a glance whether the message has been delivered or read and how the message recipient has responded.

“Using GPS, we can also see where staff are when they’re responding," Bays added. “This gives us a clear picture of our available resources and enables us to act accordingly.”

The app, which has been used by the trust since June this year, is integrated with PageOne’s cloud-based messaging solution and works with pop-up alerts, a separate inbox and two-way quick reply options.

“We can contact each member of our smartgroups through any combination of text, email or using the app.

“The staff really like it. If it’s an emergency, all three get sent and the handset will go off. You can’t use your BlackBerry until the message on the handset has been read.

“We don’t have phone signal in the building so using the app is really helping response time,” said Bays.

Barking, Havering and Redbridge, which serves a population of 700,000 across Queen’s Hospital and King George Hospital, has recently built new, dedicated control centres in its two hospitals, equipped to deal with emergencies.