A recent study found it saved nurses 21 minutes per shift and doctors 48 minutes on average. Medic Creations, the company behind the app, has also linked up with Samsung to deliver hardware for app users. The company is now in advanced talks to provide the package to several NHS trusts – aiming for a nationwide rollout of the app by the end of 2021.
Since June last year, West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds has almost completely ditched pagers, with all of its 4,200 staff now using Medic Bleep instead.
Billed as the future for conversation for frontline clinicians and care givers, its predecessor – the pager system – is being phased out of the NHS.
Medic Creations estimates it could save the NHS the equivalent of £1.35bn a year in efficiency costs – including time saved by staff, the reduction in length of stay for patients and reduced medical errors – if rolled out across the UK.
Robert Jones, the head of messaging at BT, said: “Medic Bleep is an innovative secure messaging solution that can be scaled at pace across the NHS to help nurses and doctors to work more efficiently and securely.
“The benefits that West Suffolk Hospital are already seeing show how technology can be a huge enabler, with the power to transform how we work and communicate with each other.”
Dr Nick Jenkins, West Suffolk Hospital’s medical director, added: “When the pressure is on in healthcare, the last thing that’s needed is a communication barrier. It’s essential to ensure communication continues in the easiest way possible.
“Medic Bleep has made this possible for us – allowing our teams to share organisational intelligence swiftly, meaning they can be reactive and responsive to issues colleagues raise on the ground.
It’s a huge upgrade from the outdated pager system and has been invaluable to this organisation during the COVID-19 crisis, saving us so much vital time in a period when, genuinely, every minute counts.”
As well as the 4,200 people currently using it at West Suffolk Hospital, a further 16,000 hospital workers have downloaded it.
The app is the brainchild of Medic Creations chief executive Dr Sandeep Bansal, who warned of the need to improve communication within the NHS, as he claimed up to half of the one billion internal calls made by medical professionals in hospitals are wasted each year due to using old fashioned pagers and switchboard systems.
“Frontline staff currently waste much of their time standing by the phone thanks to antiquated pager and switchboard systems,” he explained.
“This lack of efficiency ultimately wastes money and puts a huge strain on the NHS. When there is a national health crisis, especially of this scale, the NHS cannot afford to be put under this avoidable strain.”
He criticised the long-winded pager system and how frustratingly slow communicating in a hospital currently is, saying: “It’s a ludicrous process… in a hospital it’s crucial to convey the full clarity of a situation quickly. It can mean the difference between life and death.
“Medic Bleep has the potential to save lives – as NHS teams can get the right information to the right people at the right time.”
Any health or care worker can download Medic Bleep on their smartphone and use it to securely communicate information to colleagues in real-time, rather than waiting for a pager call that can’t relay any urgent and detailed information.
Its live directory removes ambiguity surrounding who is currently at work in a hospital or practice.