NHS staff stay updated with their app

We caught up with Sharon Callaghan, Project Manager for TEC Digital Services in NHS Ayrshire and Arran about her team’s experience of using a mobile app from Piota for communications and engagement. Within the NHS Ayrshire and Arran ‘container app’ there are dedicated apps for specific services – for example, apps containing all key information, updates, handbooks, contacts details, emergency procedures and more about COPD, diabetes or paediatrics for patients, families and carers; and apps containing internal training resources, policies and procedures, contacts details, events and more for staff members.

Which challenges were they facing?

Sharon described the background to their most recent app, a “Retired and Returning” app for nurses and midwives who are volunteering to return to support patients and their colleagues during Covid-19. The nurse bank team needed a quick and easy way to get required information such as training, Covid-19 updates, revised procedures and protocols etc out to them on a daily basis. 

Having a dedicated app especially for this purpose would enable them to reach directly and instantly returning staff who didn’t have ready access to emails or the time to log in daily.

  • NHS Ayshire & Arran Retired and Returning app
  • NHS Ayshire and Arran COPD app
  • NHS Ayshire and Arran Healthy Weight app
  • NHS Ayshire and Arran Smoking Prevention app
  • NHS Ayshire and Arran Children's Diabetes app

What do they use their new app for and why?

The communication department was sending a blanket “Daily Digest” email out to everyone in the Health Board containing different types of information from across the organisation. Using an app is more efficient because it removes the need for email list management and a much higher proportion of staff read it. They can also send out information in shorter more digestible chunks:  for example, urgent information relevant to the Covid-19 outbreak out in the news section in real-time and less urgent information in nightly newsflash which contains: information on confirmed cases, updates on guidance from Health Protection Scotland, updates from Scottish Government, figures of Covid-19 related deaths, advice for healthcare workers, staff wellbeing hub information, information regarding supporting children and young people, child benefits, information for clients who use drugs and alcohol and much more.

They also use their app to centralise and connect to all the related national websites which are updated daily regarding the Covid-19 outbreak, and information, messages of support and guidance from the Chief Executive and Nurse Director. This information has been key for those who are returning to work and are already in the bank.

Feedback from individuals 

“I hope we can continue to use this app after the crisis, it is great to be able to see all the information on my phone”

“This is a great resource that will save returning staff a huge amount of time and help us to improve their anxiety levels as well as patient and staff safety”

“I think it is great and people have commented how good it is to be able to see it”

Their app was launched less than a month ago and has already had over 500 downloads, they will continue to promote the use of the app to staff as they come on board.

Sharon Callaghan, Project Manager for TEC Digital Services in Ayrshire and Arran
Sharon Callaghan, Project Manager for TEC Digital Services in NHS Ayrshire and Arran

“I have been working with Chris and the Piota team since the launch of our first app in January 2019. We love the container app and the fact that all our apps are available under the same umbrella, and I am still amazed at how quickly and professionally an app is developed. We now have 5 live apps and 2 in development and a list of interested services. I truly hope we are able to continue developing apps for our services. The Piota team were excellent to work with, nothing is a problem and they go out their way to make sure we have everything we require. Some of our teams can be quite challenging at times. I think Chris deserves a medal” – Sharon Callaghan, Project Manager for TEC Digital Services in NHS Ayrshire and Arran

To find out more about how you can maximise your communications strategy, please see our website, or contact us at: chris.elkin@piota.co.uk

Healthcare App

Instant communications are more important than ever

Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, initially issued a request for 250,000 volunteers to donate their time to help the 1.5 million vulnerable people who will be self isolated for the next three months. Overnight, more than 500,000 people had signed up to help out. This was an overwhelming response and very representative of the nation’s willingness to stand together in this uncertain time. The NHS volunteers have been assigned their roles and will start their duties this week.

At Piota, our mission is to improve communications and engagement. We’re supporting NHS department communications by creating easy to use and quick to market app solutions for our healthcare clients to reach their patients and colleagues effectively and instantly.

What’s our role?

In response to the coronavirus crisis we’ve been working on the following app solutions:

  • COVID-19 Care Home – to provide care home staff with the latest training, protocols and procedures. 
  • Retired and Returning – to provide retired and returning healthcare workers with links to relevant training and local procedures/protocols.
  • Maternity – to provide expecting parents with important information regarding their pregnancy and what to do in today’s environment.
  • Paediatric Diabetes – to provide valuable and timely information to patients and their families who are unable to attend clinics.
The Black Country and West Birmingham CCG app on an Apple device
The Black Country and West Birmingham CCG app on an Apple device

Why use an app?

NHS departments are increasingly looking for digital solutions to reach their patients as the number of people using the NHS 111 service has shot up. An app is a modern solution for communicating with your audience, especially while we are relying more heavily on technology. It provides a centralised communication hub and helps to build a community of information, which is a timely resource for Covid-19 updates. The app can also be used as a “quick, handy resource for signposting” social prescribing tools, allowing this information to be accessible to those who are not currently engaged with you.

With our new registration tool, you can use your app for both external and internal communications. Your audience can subscribe to their chosen channels and will only receive relevant messages, ensuring that important messages will always be seen and understood.

What are our clients saying?

“Our app has come into its own for keeping patients up to date with latest Covid-19 advice! Thanks.”

Consultant Paediatrician at Paediatric Diabetes, Tayside Children’s Hospital

The team at Piota were able to produce our COVID-19 Communication App within hours of our initial request. The app has provided us with a quick and easy platform ensuring our Care Home managers and staff are kept up-to date with current local policy and procedural updates, an absolute must in this fast moving, transient world we now find ourselves in.  Thanks again Piota for your ongoing support – it has been absolutely fantastic, the responsiveness has been second to none.”

Yvonne Higgins – Deputy Chief Nurse at Wolverhampton CCG

To find out more about how we can help you maximise your communications strategy, please see our website or contact us at: chris.elkin@piota.co.uk