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CommonTime Enterprise Mobility Blog

[Interview] The Benefits of Mobile Tech in the Public Sector

The public sector needs to adopt mobile technology. From local government services right through to national bodies such as the NHS - the savings in time and cost are undeniable. And the long term return on public funding would far outweigh the initial costs. That's the message from CommonTime's Head of Public Sector - Steve Carvell.

In this interview, Steve discusses the major challenges facing public sector organisations and the ways in which a mobile first strategy can help. Steve also discusses a number of projects that CommonTime are developing in order to improve local governement and healthcare services across the UK.

Read the full transcript from Steve's interview below.

What are the Benefits of Mobile Tech in the Public Sector?

The challenges that mobile workers have are around having the right information they need in their role. Obviously, traditional methods of mobile working involved using pen and paper. Now, with the advent of digital & mobile technology, people have the right information at the right time. Whether they're going to see individuals in the community, or they need information for their role or forms for data capture - all of the data they collect is synchronised into their back office council or clinical system.

We're seeing a huge increase in these types of requests coming through on mobile devices, and we have examples where councils have rolled out applications for things such as bulk uplifts. These are the large items such as sofas and washing machines that are collected by the council. Being able to report & record these items for collection has been hugely successful.

Also, being able to report things from a social housing point of view, such as issues with the property, particular hazards with the propoerty etc. has been beneficial. This extends to being able to manage tenancy agreements online through a mobile app. All of these things are adding to the overall driver - the digital channel shift within councils - to mobile. It's moving away from the traditional desktop based engagement using a browser at a desk, to being able to engage using a mobile device.

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"Studies show that engagement with local authorities via mobile devices can be upwards of 80%."

There are studies that actually show that engagement with local authorities and other public sector organisations on a mobile device is 80%-90% rather than a 45%-50% rate using traditional methods.

What is the Role of Mobile Technology in Healthcare?

Another area we're seeing mobile technology used is around community first responders and co-responders. So, we're working with an ambulance trust on a project where we're replacing their community first responder system - which is a system traditionally handled by pagers, telephone calls or even text messages.

We're providing a mobile solution which enables the community first responder to sign in & say they are available, then incidents can be pushed from a control centre to a mobile device. We can even send incidents based on the location of particular co-responders. The co-responder can then route to that incident meaning navigation can be completed within the app.

When they have arrived at the scene, there is also some data that needs to be captured as well - which they can do using the mobile app, rather than having to use a paper form or go back to base to record information. In addition to that, this particular application has the locations of all of the AED devices, so if there's a cardiac arrest they'll have a record of the nearest devices to the scene of the incident. There are huge benefits there in terms of the monitoring of community first responder incidents.

If you take healthcare, it's all about mobile working; being able to complete their work out in the field, in a securely disconnected way. That will save the NHS hundreds of thousands, potentially millions, of pounds each year. They will be able to see more patients and be hugely more efficient.

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"Equipping staff with devices that work in a securely disconnected way can save thousands of pounds."

 Another aspect is around citizens and patients with long term care needs. Obviously, the population demographic is changing. There are older patients, and those individuals need to be able to monitor their own condition. If they can do that using a mobile device, that would save the NHS huge sums. This is really where we see significant growth in terms of mobile in healthcare.

I guess from a local government point of view that citizen engagement, channel shift, from traditional services towards filling a form in on a mobile is going to save huge amounts of time in the back office. Currently councils are receiving information from citizens and having to key requests in. In the future, councils will be able to be more responsive to situations than this.

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Posted by Chris Martin

Chris is a digital marketer who strongly believes in the power of creating memorable customer experiences. He proactively drives digital strategy and content production at CommonTime.