The roll-out of 800 netbooks at Cardiff and Vale University Health Board means community and mental health staff can view and update patient records on the move.

The health board is working with Stone Group to provide Lenovo X240 netbooks, adding to its existing devices; the Samsung N150 and the Lenovo E130. It plans to complete the roll-out this summer.

All devices are able to access the health board’s electronic patient record Paris provided by Civica, giving staff the chance to view and update patient records on the go.

Cardiff and Vale began providing netbooks to its community and mental health service staff back in 2010 after a successful pilot, using an investment of £343,000 from the Welsh government.

The impact of these devices on patient care led to the health board paying for additional netbooks on an incremental basis.

Mark Cahalane, programme manager for Paris, told Digital Health News the board moved to the Lenovo X240 this year.

Each device is configured to include NHS security imaging and staff are provided with security cards so they can sever the connection remotely if a device is lost or stolen.

Cahalane, said that the netbooks allow community staff to better prepare for patient visits as they can review cases before going out for the day.

“Previously they would go out relatively blind,” he said.

He added that the devices reduce the administrative burden on nurses as they no longer have to fill out both a paper form at the patient’s home and then retype this into a computer once back at base.

Cardiff and Vale intends to continue developing its mobile service, and is planning to provide netbooks with detachable touch screens as part of its next deployment.

Cahalane said the move to hybrid was influenced by a 50/50 split in the preference of staff.

Staff focused on physical health and child health are happy to use tablets as they only have to input limited amounts of information, such as vital signs.

However, Cahalane said that mental health staff prefer a keyboard as they are “more wordy” and their notes are based on subtle signs and human interaction.

According to Cahalane, this presents a challenge as most hybrid models are for home use and clip off easily, whereas a sturdier model is necessary in the “blood and guts world” of community care.

The move towards this sort of device is on hold for the moment as Cardiff and Vale is going “hell for leather” on rolling out the Lenovo netbook, with plans to have 900 mobile devices in place this autumn.