East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust has replaced pagers with a mobile app to make 2,000 patient referrals a month.

As Matt Hancock announced a ban on the use of pagers in the NHS, East Kent has announced it has replaced the technology with System C’s CareFlow Connect app.

East Kent Hospitals originally introduced CareFlow Connect in its renal department but has now rolled the mobile app out to numerous disciplines across the trust.

This means clinicians have access to real-time information and receive alerts to their mobile devices about their patients. It also allows them to have medical discussions about their treatment.

Dr Michael Bedford, a renal consultant at East Kent Hospitals and the trust’s clinical IT lead, said: “Our use of CareFlow Connect used to be about alerting on acute kidney injury (AKI) but as it is used across so many departments it is now much more than that.

“It is at the core of our clinical communication.  Each of the 6,500 referral and team conversation messages we are sending a month in CareFlow could have previously been a bleep to the team.”

Currently, the mobile app is being used to record some 4,000 electronic handover updates a week, with the trust also going live with CareFlow Connect’s team-to-team referrals functionality.

Dr Bedford adds: “All clinical staff have traditionally had to rely on the telephone, and inevitably the pager, to have this sort of communication.  This could take anything from a few minutes to several hours.

“Now we can do it at the touch of a button, and the whole process is transparent. Everyone in the team can see the message, see when it has been actioned, and join any follow up conversations.  It really is transformational.”

Before rolling out CareFlow across the whole trust, Dr Bedford and fellow East Kent renal consultant Chris Farmer originally worked in partnership with Dr Jon Shaw and Dr Jonathan Bloor, the founders of CareFlow Connect (now part of System C), to improve the care of their own kidney patients.

Dr Shaw, CareFlow Connect founder and clinical director of System C, said: “It is fantastic to see CareFlow Connect making such a difference.

“We already know that social messaging-style technology adapts well to the dynamics and fluidity of care teams. What East Kent demonstrates is the huge value-added in an app which is designed specifically for clinical workflows and which integrates with the clinical record.  The Trust has been an early pioneer of an approach which is now being adopted across the NHS.”