Technology in care

Care Quality Commission | November 2018 | Technology in care

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) have published a series – Technology in care- which shows how technology is used, the benefits of its usage and it also includes examples of best practice .

Introduction: How technology can support high-quality care

Using surveillance in your care service

Check the way you handle personal information meets the right standards

Find out if you need consent to use technology as part of someone’s care


NHS to provide life changing glucose monitors for Type 1 diabetes patients

NHS England | November 2018 | NHS to provide life changing glucose monitors for Type 1 diabetes patients

Simon Stevens Chief Executive of NHS England  has announced that thousands of people with diabetes will be able to access Freestyle Libre; a wearable sensor that means those with the condition no longer need to rely on inconvenient and sometimes painful finger prick blood tests, as the device works by relaying glucose levels to a smart phone or e-reader.  This announcement marks an end to the current variation  some people in different parts of the country were experiencing. 



The pioneering technology should ultimately help people with Type 1 diabetes achieve better health outcomes and benefits for patients include:

  • Easily noticing when sugar levels are starting to rise or drop, so action can be taken earlier
  • Giving patients more confidence in managing their own condition
  • Not having to do as many finger-prick checks (Source: NHS England)

Read the full announcement from NHS England

In the media:

BBC News Diabetes glucose monitors ‘available to thousands more’

Instant messaging services a “vital part of the NHS toolkit” during a crisis

NHS England | November 2018 |Instant messaging services a “vital part of the NHS toolkit” during a crisis

New guidance from NHS England will help NHS organisations and staff to make a judgement on how and when to use instant messaging safely in acute clinical settings, taking in to account data sharing and data privacy rules.


Simple steps that staff should take include:

  • Only using apps and other messaging tools that meet the NHS encryption standard
  • Not allowing anyone else to use their device
  • Disabling message notifications on their device’s lock-screen to protect patient confidentiality
  • Keeping separate clinical records and delete the original messaging notes once any advice has been transcribed and attributed in the medical record.

Dr Helgi Johannsson, Consultant in Anaesthesia at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, set up a major incident instant messaging group to help coordinate his hospital’s response to Grenfell Tower after learning a key lesson during the Westminster attack.

Dr Simon Eccles, Chief Clinical Information Officer for Health and Care, said: “Helping people during a crisis like the Grenfell fire, demands a quick response and instant messaging services can be a vital part of the NHS toolkit. Health service staff are always responsible about how they use patients’ personal details and these new guidelines will help our doctors and nurses to make safe and effective use of technology under the most intense pressure.” (Source: NHS England)

Read the full release here 

Related:  NHS England | Information governance and technology resources

In the media:

The Telegraph NHS tells staff to use WhatsApp to communicate during emergencies

Nursing Times New NHS guidance sanctions use of WhatsApp by nurses in emergencies


Outpatients app ‘saving NHS millions’

NHS Confederation | November 2018 |Outpatients app ‘saving NHS millions’

A new app- the MyCare app- developed by Milton Keynes University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, the app allows patients to change and confirm appointments on a smartphone, tablet or computer, with outpatient letters emailed in real time.  The app has been co-designed by patients and clinicians.  


Chief executive of the trust Joe Harrison explains, “for most hospitals in the country, it is easier for somebody to book a hotel, flight and a cab to pick them up from Sydney, Australia than it is for them to change or cancel their outpatient appointment – because we don’t allow people to do it in their own time, on any device, in a way that is convenient to them.”

While many trusts are providing patient portals, Milton Keynes is the first NHS hospital to provide the ability for people to directly manage their appointments, including rearranging them solely online without needing to call the hospital (Source: NHS Confederation).

MyCare at  Milton Keynes University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust 

Screen time does not impact sleep in children, finds study

Science Daily | November 2018 |Children’s sleep not significantly affected by screen time, new study finds

Earlier research has suggested that between 50 and 90 per cent of school- age children might not be getting enough sleep, citing digital technologies as a potential contributor to this. Now research findings from the Oxford Internet Institute at the University of Oxford, indicate that screen time has a modest impact on child’s sleep. The research team used data from the United States’ 2016 National Survey of Children’s Health, which included parents from across the country whom completed self-report surveys on themselves, their children and household. The survey included questions that required caregivers to estimate their child/ren’s sleep duration over one day, if their child/ren went to bed at approximately the same time each night and the amount of time spent on digital screens (including mobile phones, computers, handheld video games and other electronic devices). 


Although the study found a correlation, the lead researcher, Professor Andrew Przybylski, author of the study published in the Journal of Pediatrics explains it is modest. “The findings suggest that the relationship between sleep and screen use in children is extremely modest. Every hour of screen time was related to 3 to 8 fewer minutes of sleep a night.” (Source: Science Daily)



To determine the extent to which time spent with digital devices predicts meaningful variability in pediatric sleep.

Study design

Following a preregistered analysis plan, data from a sample of American children (n = 50 212) derived from the 2016 National Survey of Children’s Health were analyzed. Models adjusted for child-, caregiver-, household-, and community-level covariates to estimate the potential effects of digital screen use.


Each hour devoted to digital screens was associated with 3-8 fewer minutes of nightly sleep and significantly lower levels of sleep consistency. Furthermore, those children who complied with 2010 and 2016 American Academy of Pediatrics guidance on screen time limits reported between 20 and 26 more minutes, respectively, of nightly sleep. However, links between digital screen time and pediatric sleep outcomes were modest, accounting for less than 1.9% of observed variability in sleep outcomes.


Digital screen time, on its own, has little practical effect on pediatric sleep. Contextual factors surrounding screen time exert a more pronounced influence on pediatric sleep compared to screen time itself. These findings provide an empirically robust template for those investigating the digital displacement hypothesis as well as informing policy-making.


Full reference: Przybylski, Andrew K. | 2018| Digital Screen Time and Pediatric Sleep: Evidence from a Preregistered Cohort Study | The Journal of Pediatrics| Volume 0 | Issue 0 |DOI:

The full article is available from the Journal of Pediatrics 

Social media boost for breast screening

More women attend for breast screening thanks to success of digital inclusion project | NHS Digital

An NHS project using social media to improve health by boosting digital inclusion has led to a 13 per cent increase in first time attendances for breast screening in Stoke-on-Trent over four years.

The local initiative saw information about screening posted on Facebook community groups, which empowered and enabled women to make appointments by reducing their anxiety around breast examinations. It also allowed them to communicate quickly and easily with health practitioners to ask questions about the screening process.


Through this project, the North Midlands Breast Screening Service promoted their Facebook page on local community groups which their target group – women aged over 50 – regularly visited.

The screening team posted information such as patients explaining about how the screening process works and how it has affected them, and videos showing the rooms where it takes place. Posts were designed to encourage women to share them and so spread the message about the benefits and importance of screening.

The service’s Facebook page also answered questions in the group and by direct messaging, enabling women to book appointments more easily.

Full detail: More women attend for breast screening thanks to success of digital inclusion project | NHS Digital

See also: Social media could help raise breast screening take-up | OnMedica

Patients start testing the new NHS App

Patients at a number of practices across England have begun testing the new NHS App | NHS Digital

The NHS App provides simple and secure access to a range of healthcare services on a smartphone or tablet. Developed by NHS Digital and NHS England, the app will enable many patients to register without attending the practice, reducing administrative burden on reception staff.

Once registered, patients can:

  • check their symptoms using NHS 111 online and the symptom checker on the NHS website
  • book and manage appointments at their GP practice
  • order their repeat prescriptions
  • securely view their GP medical record
  • register as an organ donor
  • choose whether the NHS uses their data for research and planning

Feedback from patients and practice staff will be used to help improve the app before it is gradually rolled out to patients across England from December 2018.

Find out more on the NHS Digital Website