Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust has deployed mobile devices to staff after a coroner’s inquest heard that access to medical records could prevent patient suicides.

Following an inquest into the death of a man who was under care by the trust’s community team, deputy coroner Sarah Ormond-Walshe wrote a letter to the trust asking it to consider mobile working.

The patient had committed suicide, but had not been deemed at high risk for suicide by his care team.

Ormond-Walshe says in the letter to the trust that it is vital that a patient’s mental health history is easily available to all community staff.

The letter adds that not having access creates a risk of other deaths to, “occur or continue to exist in the future.”

“During the course of the evidence it became apparent to me that the community practitioners who are attending the patients at home, although having a system of computerised records now, do not have anything handheld to take out when they go to the community,” says the letter.

“This was a matter that took up a good proportion of the evidence as it didn’t appear to be the case that some of the practitioners knew the full history in relations to facts concerning suicidal ideation or they didn’t know the full, accurate history.”

The trust’s head of ICT, Shakil Patel told EHI that Birmingham and Solihull had already planned to make improvements to remote working as part of the trust’s ICT strategy.

“A project is currently under way that aims to make remote working more user friendly and easy for our staff,” he said.

“Following the inquest in March, we deployed more laptops to enable staff to access clinical information whilst on the move, in addition to a number of devices that were already in use in the community.

“Staff can gain access via mobile and wireless networks, or on any public internet connection. This access is secured using the N3 secure gateway solution.”

He added that a project to deploy new Blackberry devices would also give community nurses immediate access to the trust’s RiO electronic patient record system while working remotely.

“The latest Blackberry devices will be deployed to all community psychiatric nurses by the end of 2013, and we are working with our partners to make clinical information available on Blackberry and potentially other mobile devices by the end of March 2014,” he said.