NHS trusts spend £6.6m a year on ‘blunt instruments’ for communications, when smartphones could replace pagers, save millions of pounds and deliver crucial information to the frontline, a new whitepaper from CommonTime has found.
Limitations of the devices and the fact that key suppliers have been abandoning the market, were highlighted in the whitepaper, which stated the health service could save more than £2.7m of the direct costs associated with pagers every year, by moving the function to alternative and more capable devices such as smartphones.
Substantial additional savings for the NHS could also be released from network maintenance costs associated with pagers, and from more efficient ways of working in hospitals that could be enabled by more modern mobile devices.
Perhaps more problematically, the whitepaper indicates that frustrations with current communication systems are leading clinical staff to increasingly rely on shadow IT channels such as Whatsapp. Ultimately, a balance must be struck between preservation of established workflows and investment in new technology – but with a growing amount of issues facing current communication channels, something must change.
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