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Using mobile technology in community health services

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Mobile devices such as smart phones, personal digital assistants, tablet and notebooks computers have become mass market products, used by people of all ages in every area of the UK, and even within the NHS.

Speeding up administration

Forward-thinking community health teams across the country are experimenting with everything from PDAs to digital pens in order to speed up administration tasks, cope with rurality and free staff to focus on patient care.

For example, Liverpool Community Health NHS Trust has equipped its chronic disease management nurses with internet-ready laptops for use during visits to housebound patients with long-term conditions.

These mean the nurses, who are based in general practices, do not have to collate patient notes in advance of consultations; can offer more flexible appointments; and, ultimately, are able to carry out more community visits. They provide access to all patient records held at the surgery.

'Home visits allow us to get out of the practice and see where a person lives and how they live,' says chronic disease management lead nurse Sharon Poll. 'This gives us a chance to pick up on social issues and family issues that we wouldn't know about if they came to the practice.

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