Could you introduce yourself please?
My name is Paul Wilder. I’m the Learning & Simulation Technologist at Frimley Park Hospital which is part of Frimley Health.
Effectively, I’m not a clinician. My job is to look at technologies that would be useful in teaching and learning doctors and nurses.
Obviously, from my point of view, apps are very important. It’s part of what we call TEL – Technology Enhanced Learning.
I already knew, even though I’m not a clinician, that we had an issue with our clinical guidelines, and I was quite shocked to discover that the junior doctors had a real problem with looking up our common and emergency guidelines, when they needed them on the shop floor, as we call it.
When the idea of the app came up, what would you think was your main obstacle to actually getting it made?
Well, I guess the main obstacle, from my point of view, was although I’m fairly adept at producing things like e-learning materials, and obviously I’ve got a degree in computer science, and a Post Graduate Certification in Education, I wasn’t an app developer myself.
I guess I was very worried about the cost implications of an app. Also making sure that whoever we involved in the process actually understood what we wanted, and that we actually get an end result.
I think one of the other issues that I have personally, that I’m very wary of as a technologist, is what I’m calling app overload. In that it’s very easy for us to have 150 apps, for all these different things, and therefore none of them actually get any use.
Because of that I was very clear, from my point of view, that I wanted a very strict set of rules and guidelines about what we were going to do with this app.
From my point of view, it’s part of a triumvirate of apps. We’ve got UpToDate, which is the national guidelines, and is a very expensive product that we have to pay for every year. We’ve also got a Health Education England funded project called Dr Toolbox. That provides all of our non-clinical information for when doctors rotate, so they can quickly get up-to-speed with what our hospital is like.
One of the advantages of that app – I call it that, because it’s not technically an app at the moment. It’s technically a little Wiki. One of the advantages of Dr Toolbox is that the more hospitals that use it then the easier it is, when junior doctors rotate here, to just understand, “Oh, right, it’s Dr Toolbox”, and they will just come and use it.
So, I was really clear that I didn’t want lots and lots of apps. An app that covers a whole area is what I was keen on.
What did you find as a result?
Well, certainly clinicians have been very enthusiastic about it, and now of course I’m starting to get interest from outside the hospital, to other hospitals, about it.
As soon as I mention it inside the hospital everyone wants to have a look at it. They want to suck it and see, basically, and of course they’re really pleased with it.
It’s going to be one of those things that’s going to grow and grow, because obviously we’ve got that remit of common and emergency guidelines for junior doctors, or foundations doctors I should say, but of course other people want to get involved with it.
We’re talking about locums, and then the nurses are really keen, I know already nurses are starting to use it. Only this morning I was dealing with the medical students, and of course they all wanted it on now.
Again, as someone that does a little bit of project management, we’ve got to take it in steps, so that we don’t get out of control with it, but no, it’s really great.
What do you like most about the app?
Well, I’m not a clinician, but obviously I quite like the little flowcharts that allow to say, “Is the patient over 50?” and all those kind of things.
I guess, putting my technologist hat on again, I’m after something that is quickly accessible, easy to understand, and is fairly obvious and smooth when it comes to use, in terms of being able to see very quickly where you have to go on the app.
Would you recommend the app to anyone else, and if so, why?
Oh, I would absolutely recommend the app. This isn’t a problem that I think is unique to our hospital. I know other hospitals have come up with other solutions.
Some Trusts have gone down a brown book, or whatever they want to call it, route. Personally, I think the book isn’t as useful as a clean app like we have. The reason for that is because they don’t necessarily carry their books with them, but they have all got smartphones with them.
Is there anything you want to add?
I’m really pleased. I’m really pleased with how we’ve come, and I think it’s only going to get better.