New data show mobile devices increase productivity in everyday clinical practice and support patient care

UK charity calls on health professionals to collaborate and drive down costs for professional use of mobile technology

14 December 2010, London – New data will be presented this afternoon at The King’s Fund that shows mobile technology is an integral part of modern clinical practice, but one that is costly for individual health professionals and rarely reimbursed by healthcare providers. d4 is a new UK charity which recognises that mobile technology is critical to improving efficiency within UK clinical practice, and that cost should not be a barrier to use. Today, d4 is calling on healthcare professionals to collaborate and to use group-buying power to improve access to the right information at the right price, and support the needs of modern medicine.

An online survey by d4 of 474 UK registered health professionals showed that 80 percent rely on a mobile phone at work for a range of purposes, with the most commonly cited reasons being communicating with colleagues (82 percent) and accessing information on the intranet/internet (46 percent). With increasing pressure being placed on health professionals to deliver cost-effective, high quality care, it is no surprise that technological innovations are being utilised to share knowledge, help make informed decisions and expedite improved health outcomes.

Yet the survey also showed that the benefits of mobile technology for clinical practice may not yet be recognised by healthcare managers, with very few health professionals reporting that their use of mobile technology is financially supported by their employer. Only eight percent of respondents incurring a work-related expense for use of mobile technology reported receiving compensation for the cost incurred.

The need for good communication in such an inherently mobile and highly complex industry as healthcare is perhaps unparalleled. d4 estimates that poor communication costs NHS hospitals in England alone in excess of £1 billion through wasted doctor and nurse time, and patients remaining in hospital beds for longer than necessary.1 The survey data and other key trends are analysed in the report, “A survey of mobile phone usage by health professionals in the UK”, which is made available today.

Chairman and Senior Medical Trustee of d4, Professor Michael Orme, commented, “We know that the ability to share information and ideas quickly is a cornerstone of modern medicine, but the problem is that the cost of mobile technology use within the NHS is largely borne by the individual. Health professionals should be supported to use innovative, cost-effective technologies to help deliver improved patient care.”

d4 was born out of the realisation that more could be done to help improve professional access to mobile technology and ultimately improve patient safety, care and outcomes and reduce cost of ownership for the individual. Supported by practicing clinicians, d4’s overarching goal is to provide health professionals with mobile devices and key applications at prices that are lower than those offered through typical retail channels. This will be achieved in a manner similar to that of a co-operative, by harnessing the buying power of health professionals – one of the largest sectors of the UK workforce – with over 1.4 million registered in the UK.

CEO of d4, James Sherwin-Smith said, “Our research confirms that the use of mobile communications by health professionals in the workplace is rapidly gaining momentum and importance. It’s time that we support this. Today d4 calls on doctors, nurses and allied health professionals to speak with one voice so that modern technology can be placed in the hands of health professionals at an appropriate price by visiting http://www.d4.org.uk to join our online community.”

To launch d4 and demonstrate the value of the initiative, the charity is pleased to announce collaboration with Happtique, the first health app store designed specifically to meet the needs of health professionals. Created by healthcare professionals, d4.Happtique will make it easier for UK health professionals to discover and use healthcare apps, bringing healthcare leaders, mobile industry innovators, application developers, content providers, and end users together to improve information flow.

d4’s vision is simple: to support better communication and achieve better care for patients. The charity is calling on health professionals to register, show their support for the initiative and demonstrate to healthcare technology providers that the UK medical community has a shared voiced and demands competitive pricing. Health professionals are encouraged to join d4 by visiting http://www.d4.org.uk.

ENDS

Notes for editors:

d4

d4 is a non-profit organisation with registered charity status in England and Wales.  Founded on the belief that better communication means better care, d4 aims to improve patient care by placing modern technology in the hands of doctors, nurses and other health care professionals.

The availability of technology will increase and develop as the size of the group expands in size.

d4.Happtique

A press release detailing this agreement is embargoed until 4pm GMT // 11am EST today.

For further information, please contact:

James Sherwin-Smith of d4 on 0845 686 3434 // 07816 318 310

Katie Armson of Aurora on 0207 424 7946 // 07872 812 407

Alternatively please visit the d4 website at www.d4.org.uk.

A free version of the full report, “A survey of mobile phone usage by health professionals in the UK”, is available to the media upon request.

References

1. http://blog.d4.org.uk/2010/09/inefficient-communication-a-1bn-problem-for-nhs-hospitals-in-england.html

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