The Future’s Flexible: Support Remote Healthcare Workers Now and In the Future

Terry Smith, Head of Public Sector Sales at Daisy Corporate Services reflects on the changing role of digital technologies in Healthcare and how it can support remote workers when they are out visiting patient’s homes.

Terry Smith (pictured)

The UK’s healthcare sector adapted amazingly well to the unprecedented pressures placed upon it during the pandemic. Digital technologies helped doctors deliver remote consultations and supported mass remote working for staff. But the hard part is yet to come. Healthcare organisations must continue to accelerate digital transformation to improve patient outcomes, even as the population ages, staff shortages bite and budgets remain stretched.

A well-planned and implemented technology strategy for remote workers could drive value on several fronts.

Security and productivity

Although NHS office workers were no longer required to work from home as of January 2022, many will still want to. And they should be encouraged to do so if it makes sense. Not only could it enhance productivity, but it will continue to protect employees in “at risk” groups.

For example, there are issues of personal safety and wellbeing to be considered. Safety becomes a bigger issue when health workers are on the road, while the pandemic highlighted the potentially negative mental health impact of working extended periods away from the office. Many remote employees reported feeling less connected to colleagues, taking less exercise, developing musculoskeletal problems, and even suffering from disturbed sleep.

Technology innovation can go a long way to improving safety of lone health workers. The latest solutions enable lone health workers to securely access patient records when out and about, but also provide them with functionality such as emergency help buttons on mobile devices meaning they can quickly call for assistance if they think they are in danger.

In addition, the health service needs to ensure its workers are as productive as possible, while ensuring remote working practices are secure.  Ransomware is a growing threat to the sector, impacting 81% of healthcare organisations globally. There’s strong evidence to suggest home workers are being targeted as a weak link in the security chain.

At the same time, remote IT services need to be robust and reliable. Poor connectivity and unsuitable devices can severely impact the user experience and undermine all those intended productivity benefits.

Towards better outcomes

The good news is that technology can help with all of these challenges and make remote working a success for UK healthcare organisations. Hosted Unified Communications (UC) can bring remote workers together by connecting them seamlessly with their colleagues. That’s good not only for productivity but also mental health. Cloud desktops offer a reliable, cost effective and consistent user experience to remote and office workers. And endpoint management tools can minimise cyber risk by ensuring all remote machines and devices are patched and up to date with the latest cybersecurity protection.

More so than ever, healthcare providers need to deliver digital services in an employee and patient-focused way. And it’s possible today, through working with expert technology partners who have their finger on the pulse regarding the challenges and opportunities facing the healthcare sector – it’s all about delivering flexibility and productivity, without sacrificing security and reliability.

This article was originally published in Public Sector Focus magazine September/October 2022 edition

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