The 21st century has brought with it a key change in the way we work in social care and health. It has moved the office away from being a stationery building to become more of an abstract concept. What we mean by this is that with the rise of mobile devices, the need to go into the office is not as essential as it used to be. You can take your laptop or mobile device home with you and connect to the internet to access key services via the cloud. You can also connect virtually to your work network and have all of your files waiting for you. It is a key component of 21st century working, but one that brings with it certain security benefits and deficits. Users need to be aware of these, especially when dealing with sensitive information.
With security, mobile working has real data protection issues. During the month of November, a top UK local authority was warned over data protection failings. A social worker was found to have left a bundle of printed sensitive information on top of her car and drove off, with personal data relating to 27 people being lost in the process. More than half of this lost information related to the records of children and was never found again.
The local authority in question was criticised by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) for failing to act on previous advice and not improving staff training. The local authority has subsequently signed up to measures to improve its data protection practices in light of the incident.
What could have been done?
With the Digital 2020 agenda on the horizon, many local authorities are looking at their services and investigating the best way to move them to a digital medium. Part of this move is looking at how these services can be used on tablets and mobile devices.
Why is this important?
Currently, there is a conflict between;
a) The increasing use of multi-agency teams in Health and Social Care across Adult and Children's Services and
b) The different mobile devices that these team typically work (all working on different browsers and operating systems).
This is why mobile responsive solutions are so important
Mobile solutions need to work perfectly on any device and not be tied to one operating system.
In addition to the unified approach, security issues associated with the product need to be considered, inside and outside of the interface.
Mobile working in action - Hartlepool Borough Council
We have been working with Hartlepool Borough Council Social Care teams to further enhance their mobile strategy moving forward and recently spoke with Trevor Smith, Performance and Information Manager, at the council about their strategy.
"We wanted to make sure that we could walk before we could run and started off by running a pilot scheme with 25 members of the team. Once we were happy that the devices and processes were working as intended, we moved the scheme up to 50 and now 100 members of the team. This is an uptake of 90%."
"To ensure that the team had all of the information that they needed, we took the time to research the most appropriate devices and solutions. What we decided upon was OLM's mobile solution."
"By using OLM’s mobile solution, social workers are able to connect online either at home or at the hospital, or back in the office. It gives everyone the freedom to work at the most appropriate location, for example, if they have an appointment with a client at the hospital, they can now stay after and update their case notes. We have rooms set aside for workers in the hospital to access the system."
"By having dedicated rooms and devices for use with the system, we are ensuring that security is also a top concern for us. We are moving towards a solution that will allow us to monitor who is logging in and at what times to prevent loss of data and security breaches."
"With mobile working, it is very important to remember that we are on a journey. We are learning and tweaking as we go, working with OLM every step of the way to ensure that the solution and our procedures are working as they should be. It is a long road to Digital 2020 but one that we know will make a difference to Hartlepool. We are very lucky that we have the buy-in of the management team but still have further to go to ensure 100% of the team are trained and able to use the system and procedures correctly."
If you would like any additional information relating to any of the solutions mentioned on this page, then please do not hesitate to contact us today, for a free demonstration.