Future app predicted to save NHS more than £3.6m

An application or “app” that has been developed after doctors joined forces with software developers in the first ever NHS “hack day” is set to bring a much needed technology boost to the “bits of paper” handover system currently used by most hospitals when doctors change shifts.

Colin Brown, the doctor on the team that took first prize at the hack day at the end of May, said that he had been pondering the idea for an electronic means of exchanging information at handover for a while. He was keen to take part in the day because getting together with experts in computer technology seemed like a logical step, he said.

“At the moment handover relies on lots of bits of paper on which doctors write notes or instructions about tasks and then juniors stuffing them in their back pockets. Then there are patient lists that juniors have to update in an Excel spreadsheet or in Word. There is no way to generate this electronically,” said Brown, currently an NHS fellow at the Health Protection Agency during a year out from his job as academic fellow in infectious diseases at St Thomas’ Hospital in London.

“The first part of our task on the hack day was to explain the current system to the software developers, and we had to keep re-explaining it because they were so incredulous at the systems used by most trusts.”

The app, which can be downloaded onto computers as well as mobile phones, uses a feed from the hospital’s electronic medical records to provide doctors with a list of all their patients and allows them to create task lists and update patients’ records.

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