NHS Trust puts Android and Apple devices head to head

Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust (WWL) is running a pilot using both Samsung Galaxy Android Tabs and Apple iPad Minis before it decides on one operating system and spends £24,000 rolling out devices across the Trust.

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Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust (WWL) is running a pilot using both Samsung Galaxy Android Tabs and Apple iPad Minis before it decides on one operating system and spends £24,000 rolling out devices across the Trust.

WWL plan to use the devices in all wards across the Trust to collect patient data that is used for the Department of Health’s Commissioning for Quality and Innovation Payment Framework (CQUIN). Introduced in 2009, CQUIN makes a proportion of the healthcare providers’ income conditional on demonstrating improvement and innovation in areas of care specified by local commissioning groups.

“Last year these CQUIN targets were worth a massive £5.2 million to the Trust. It’s quite considerable,” WWL’s project manager, Jamie King, told Computerworld UK.

WWL is developing apps in-house based on NDL’s development suite, each of which takes approximately two weeks to build. One of the first NDL apps will focus on a monthly audit that takes place on every in-patient in the Trust, which measures a range of common afflictions patients may experience while in care, such as pressure ulcers, falls, and urinary tract infections.

If the Trust hits its targets for this section of the CQUIN framework, it will be worth approximately £250,000 a year to WWL. The NDL app will make data collection easier for nurses in the ward.

“This was previously all done on spreadsheets on the ward manager’s computer. The trouble was that the data, although it was electronic, was held in many different areas,” said King.

“This meant that the nurse would have to sit in his or her office, go through the different systems, collate the data for all the different patients, put it in a spreadsheet and then send it to a single person to collate it all and upload it into the national system.”

By using mobile devices to collect the data, which is then sent to a central data warehouse for reports to be run, the Trust is gaining an extra day of productivity back every month per ward. There are thirty wards across the Trust.

King said: “The nurses really like it because previously they had to set aside a day a month to carry out the audit and collate the data into a spreadsheet from all the different areas.”

At the moment WWL is trialling the app in two wards, where each ward has two devices. One ward is using the Android devices, and the other will use the iPad Mini, once the Trust has been granted its Apple development licence. The wards will then swap devices after the first audit, so that employees have an opportunity to try working with both. 

“We want them to try and use both devices before we decide on one manufacturer and spend £24,000 rolling them out across the Trust. This will actually flood the wards with devices, there are going to be a few too many, but once we have completed the proof of concept, there are so many other CQUIN indicators we can use the NDL apps for,” said King.

For example, another app that WLL has already developed and is ready to roll out once the pilot is complete is for VTE assessment – ensuring in-patients don’t get deep vein thrombosis. This CQUIN indicator is worth approximately £500,000 a year to the Trust.

The main technical challenge WLL has faced with the pilot was using the Android devices on the Trust’s network, but King put this largely down to internal network configurations.

“We had issues with the Android devices and the security system we are using. It was difficult to get the Android devices to connect to our network and then it was also a challenge to track them and delete the data if it was stolen,” said King.

“We have got around it now, but it was a bit of a headache at the time. It wasn’t necessarily down to the software manufacturers; it was our network configuration more than anything else.”

WLL is in the process of carrying out its first audit using the NDL apps, which began on the 15th February. The second audit will begin on the 15th March, which is when the wards will swap devices, and King hopes to make his choices and continue the roll out shortly after that completes.

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