New app to speed up care in Leeds hosptials

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New technology created by junior doctors to speed up communication and free up more time to spend with patients is being introduced at the city’s hospitals.

Medics will share information using a smartphone app instead of relying on pagers and landlines after the system was launched.

It is estimated that doctors will have an extra hour every day to spend with patients thanks to app, which means they do not have to ring the hospital switchboard to get hold of colleagues.

Jackie Whittle, Chief Clinical Information Officer at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “This app provides a secure communication facility enabling clinicians to share information, have real time, virtual conversations and the opportunity to seek expertise and guidance from Consultants who may not otherwise be immediately available.

“Digital technology offers huge opportunities for sharing information in hospitals and across health systems, to improve safety, quality and patients’ experience.

“In Leeds we have a digital strategy to put us at the leading edge of hospitals using technology and information in secure and innovative ways.”

The app, known as Forward, was founded by junior doctors Lydia Yarlott and Barney Gilbert, who teamed up with Philip Mundy, the entrepreneur behind Goodlord, a software system used by estate agents and tenants to arrange property rentals.

Dr Yarlott, said the technology was badly needed in busy hospitals where medics have been struggling to cope with demands on their time.

She said: “As soon as I started working in hospitals, I was struck by how much time I was wasting trying to navigate switchboards or running around trying to respond to my pager. The inefficiency of the set-up was staggering. I had a powerful smartphone in my pocket, but was stuck using a 1960s-style communications network. My colleagues and I were wasting hours every day - time we could have been spending with patients.”

The app, which is free to download for all NHS clinicians, is already being used by several thousand clinicians across the UK.

Unlike WhatsApp, which many doctors have started using in recent years, Forward is compliant with NHS data security rules and meets General Medical Council confidentiality standards.

Dr Yarlott added: “This is a solution built for doctors, by doctors and one which we believe could make a drastic difference to how much time we’re able to spend with patients. With many NHS wards at breaking point this winter, technology solutions like Forward are desperately needed.”