Over the last few months we have been trying to find innovative ways to help spread the word about, and support people to adopt, a simple approach to quality improvement in the organisation. As part of these conversations, more and more people have been talking to us about opportunities for using mobile apps to help support patients and deliver their services.
Inspired by the interest in quality improvement in the organisation, and curious to see what was possible, we decided to do something ourselves as a proof-of-concept. We designed and built our own app, which provides tools, guidance, tips and other information on quality improvement
It is called ‘Be the Change’ and is available to download for all mobile devices now! (Available on Apple and Google app stores for mobile and tablet version to follow soon)
Using mobile technology in healthcare is not new and there are lots of examples of projects that have successfully developed apps for:
- Clinical guidelines and reference
- Diagnostics and self-diagnosis
- Public health and awareness-raising
- Disease management
We also have a couple of other projects underway that involve the development of mobile apps and we have learned a lot on the subject in the last few of months. We thought it would be useful to share some of this via this blog and we hope some of you might find this helpful too.
What we have found:
It is now relatively quick, easy and inexpensive to design, build and publish a mobile app, but it is useful to consider who your audience is and whether an app is the best way to communicate with them.
However, beware creating an app for the sake of creating an app and it is important to check whether your app already exists – Check this NHS site that provides details of apps and other tools that are already available.
There is very little guidance on how to create an app, but we at ASPH are developing our own guidance which will be available soon.
In the meantime, we have been talking to our corporate colleagues and have noted these points that it is really important for you to consider:
- Information governance – what information will be collected, shared, etc?
- Information security – is your app a reference-only or are you planning to collect data? (you don’t want to be leaking data!)
- Sustainability – who will own the information, who will be responsible for updating it and what happens if they leave the organisation?
- Corporate branding and appropriate communications – all patient information publications will need to adhere to the Trust’s standards, even if it is in an app…
From our experience, we would recommend that everyone consider how mobile technology could be used to help in your own roles, as it is not difficult or expensive to create a simple app and it doesn’t take lots of technical skills. However, we also suggest that you remember:
- The usual IT security, information governance and corporate communication guidance and standards all apply
- Check the guidance when it is available
- Talk to the relevant teams before starting your project – they will be happy to help and can work with you to avoid any pitfalls
And remember to download the ‘Be the Change’ mobile app now, tell us what you think and use the comments sections below to give us your feedback.
Mark – @MarkH_Work