Mersey Care NHS trust makes high demands of its travelling workforce. Mobile IT has enabled it to greatly improve efficiency and team communication
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Mersey Care is one of only three NHS trusts nationally providing the entire range of specialist mental health services, from community care through to the most specialist high-security forensic services. This provides a major opportunity for it to improve the experience of service users and carers across the whole spectrum of care and for staff to share and develop their expertise.
The trust provides care for a large area, with more than 50 sites spread across Merseyside. Managers spend a large amount of time travelling between these sites and attending meetings at other NHS sites across the UK.
The distributed nature of the organisation means that the trust managers have very little opportunity to return to the office to check e-mails, and they found it difficult to keep in touch with their colleagues.
The trust had tried a number of systems to let managers access their e-mails, including dial-up remote access from home PCs and alternative mobile e-mail systems, but found them difficult to manage and use.
After researching other e-mail solutions, the trust chose to trial the BlackBerry wireless handheld. The trust has initially rolled out BlackBerry to its managers, with a larger roll-out being considered to include clinicians, to allow easy access to e-mail and calendar information.
The roll-out involved a simple implementation of a BlackBerry Enterprise Server that enabled secure mobile access to the trust’s e-mail systems over the GPRS network.
The trust also plans to investigate enabling access to patient administration system from the BlackBerry device. This will enable clinicians to access patient case histories when out on visits.
The availability of mobile e-mail has enabled Mersey Care to greatly improve efficiency and team communication. The benefits include:
- increased work-life flexibility for managers, who no longer have to make long journeys back to the office at the end of the day to check e-mails
- easy-to-use devices reduce the amount of training required, with managers using the BlackBerry device for both voice and e-mails
- simple IT management as the devices are easy to set up and support, reducing time spent administering remote access. This is made easier by the dedicated BlackBerry technical support team and IT helpdesk site provided by Orange
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“The BlackBerry has enabled our management team to work more effectively and efficiently. It has ensured they keep working as a team even when they very rarely have the opportunity to meet up. It is an easy solution to use and so has become an integrated part of how we work, ensuring fast, accurate communication across the organisation, helping us to be even more efficient and provide a high level of service.”
Mark Blakeman, director of information management and technology, Mersey Care NHS trust
“Information sharing within organisations such as the NHS is vital to ensure proper management. This has always proved difficult when teams are spread across such a large number of sites. The BlackBerry device is easy to use and is an ideal way for teams to keep in contact. I am hopeful that this example will lead other organisations to see the real benefit of enabling mobile working.”
Alastair MacLeod, customer development director, Orange Business Solutions