A junior doctor working in Watford created an app to flag up problems and inefficiencies on hospital wards.

The MediShout app alerts the relevant person when there is a problem on a ward such as lack of stock or computers and broken equipment.

Created by trainee surgeon Ashish Kalraiya, the app has been trialled by 15 doctors on the surgical wards at West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust’s Watford General Hospital, where it has been championed by the surgical matron, Karen Bowler.

Kalraiya said the trial had been limited to use by doctors, but that ideally the app would be for all healthcare professionals.

“The main goal was to have a communication tool for NHS frontline staff, who see the problems on the ward, to communicate with those in charge who have the power to make positive changes,” he said.

“All too often frontline staff do not report systematic problems because they do not know who to report to or they forget to report by the end of their shift..

“The aim of the app was to overcome that by having an instant and swift format to report issues and to negate the concept of knowing who to report to by having the app coded to know who to send the information to.”

He developed the app at the Digital Doctor conference in London last autumn, where he learned the basics of coding. By February this year, the first trial version was made.

“The surgical department at Watford General Hospital were so supportive and keen to improve services, and gave me permission to trial the app,” said Kalraiya.

The trial began in March and the clinicians began reporting issues such as not having enough computers on the ward, which meant they could not write discharge summaries in a timely manner.

Using their smartphones, doctors were invited to download the app, but had to provide an NHS email address as it is not available on the public domain.

The app home screen allowed doctors to choose which ward the problem was on, then describe the problem in words and add a photo of the problem.

“The information was stored on the MediShout website which was encrypted secure. The matron had a login which allowed her to see all the wards and problems occurring,” said Kalraiya.

“That way she could trouble spot problems to fix. The messages were also sent to her NHS email in real-time so there was no delay in her getting the information.”

Dr Alex Kennedy has used the app and said that flagging up issues with the matron meant that they were dealt with very quickly.

“Persistent stock issues improved and a new computer was put in on the main surgical ward, saving a huge amount of time that could be spent on patient care instead,” he said.

“Not only this, but I began to realise the app could be used to suggest procedural improvements on the ward as well. For example, pointing out inefficient placement of oxygen supplies in one of the ward bays.”

The successful trial finished this summer and Kalraiya is developing the app further.

“I’m now developing the app into a full blown version as we speak. I will hopefully have it launched at a few more hospitals by the end of the year,” he said.

“By taking detailed feedback and ideas from users, we are incorporating many more interesting ideas within the full version.”