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So far Chris Martin has created 12 blog entries.

NHS Trusts not discouraging WhatsApp and other consumer apps

The majority of England’s acute trusts have no policy to discourage consumer instant messaging tools, whilst many hospitals provide no alternative, CommonTime research finds.  Nearly six in ten trusts (58%) said they had no policy in place to discourage consumer instant messaging. This is despite research earlier in the year that raised data protection concerns. The freedom of information responses revealed that a majority of trusts (56%) provided staff with no approved alternative to consumer messaging applications. And 17 trusts said they had simply banned instant messaging applications altogether. But the 2018 report Instant Messaging in the NHS showed 43% of NHS staff to be reliant on instant messaging at work, with many professionals believing patient care will suffer without access to the technology. The FoI findings also follow calls in July from health secretary Matt Hancock for the NHS to make greater use of apps for patient care. Rowan Pritchard-Jones, consultant burns and plastic surgeon and chief clinical information officer at St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, commented on the latest findings: “As is usual, NHS staff have adopted technology, likely in the belief that they are doing the right thing to support patient care, in an increasingly pressurised environment. It is incumbent on digital leaders to embed in our evolving culture the need to protect patient confidentiality, deliver these conversations into the patient record, and support staff to have these interactions with the support of their organisations.” Six trusts that responded listed consumer applications including WhatsApp and Apple’s iMessage as official channels, despite limitations in being able to trace how patient data is transmitted, and challenges around integrating information with NHS systems. Researchers said this raised concerns around compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), that came into force this year. David Juby, head ...

Plan International UK Pilots Revolutionary Sponsorship Technology

Global children’s charity, Plan International UK, has today launched an ambitious project to transform communication between sponsored children and UK sponsors. The project, made possible thanks to funding from players of the People's Postcode Lottery, has been supported by enterprise mobility specialists CommonTime. It will pilot a number of software solutions over 2018, with the aim of enabling modern, digital communication between a sponsor and their sponsored child. This technology also has the potential to dramatically reduce the time it takes for messages to reach recipients, and reduce the cost to the charity of facilitating communication. Plan International UK has been running for more than 80 years, with currently around 81,000 sponsors in the UK sponsoring over 86,000 children in 50 countries. In every case, UK-based sponsors are paired with children in developing countries, and their donations help the whole community of the sponsored child. Staff from the charity help these children move themselves from a life of poverty to one of opportunity, by delivering vital projects including the provision of good healthcare and clean water, and improving access to a quality education. As part of the sponsorship programme, sponsors receive regular updates and photographs from their sponsored child and keep in touch by writing letters back. Facilitating the exchange of letters, images and drawings enables sponsors to build a connection with their sponsored children and learn about each other’s lives. However, the logistical challenges of content moderation, translation and physical transit mean that even emailed messages can take a number of weeks to deliver. The introduction of CommonTime’s technology aims to make it easier, quicker and more engaging for the sponsor to send messages to their sponsored child using their mobile device. The child sends messages back via a trained Plan International Field Officer.  It also means sponsors ...

Health Tech Press Publish CommonTime IM Research

On March 12, CommonTime published the results of an independent, 6 week research project into the use of consumer instant messaging (IM) apps in the NHS. In a 22 page report, Instant Messaging in the NHS: An exploration of the relationship between consumer messaging applications and modern healthcare delivery, CommonTime revealed a shocking disparity between the needs of frontline staff and expected practice. Specifically, the report highlighted that the widespread adoption of instant messaging apps to supplement official communication channels is, in many ways, a sign that NHS staff themselves are being driven to innovate faster than the Trusts they represent. However, it was also noted that as this behaviour continues to grow year-on-year (driven primarily by new entrants to the workforce), so too does the risk from accidental or malicious misuse. From the sample of 800 NHS staff across all major Trust types and divisions, research participants were able to recall instances of colleagues; accidentally sending patient information to non-clinical staff, sharing ‘pertinent’ patient details on social media and sending patient photos to others for ‘entertainment purposes’. So common, in fact, are issues pertaining to instant messaging that the research found 1 in 50 NHS staff have been disciplined for their use of IM at work. Ultimately, the report concluded that NHS Trusts face a stark, uncomfortable choice - maintain a fragile norm until a catalyst for widespread adoption or rejection of instant messaging is found, or provide staff with the technologies they need in order to deliver the high standards of care expected of them. Media Reaction and Opinion In a roundup of global health tech news, Business Insider linked these findings to a McAfee report which stated regular NHS data breaches could be attributed to a lack of compliance & best practices. Meanwhile, the British Journal ...