Frontlines: Mobile working in the public sector

Mobile apps have already revolutionised the way we work and interact. There’s an app for everything these days, and this kind of digital transformation has truly benefited commercial organisations and consumers for a while now. Improving accessibility, convenience and sheer capability, apps have uplifted interaction and engagement in a massive way. But can the same be said in the UK public sector?

In short - yes, it can! Though private businesses have arguably led the way, the public sector isn’t far behind. The expectations of service users (and workers!) have pushed front-end interfaces to the forefront in public sector organisations that have struggled with legacy infrastructure for a long time. With apps allowing organisations to transform processes without ripping out longstanding back-office systems, we’re seeing them crop up in public sector environments more and more. In this edition of Hot Topics, we’re exploring how apps can be – and are already – being used in healthcare, local government, and social housing organisations across the nation.

NHS & healthcare

Mobile apps have become indispensable tools in the NHS and the wider healthcare sector, enabling healthcare professionals to deliver efficient, patient-centric care. Their ability to integrate with back-office systems – such as EPRs – makes them a hugely powerful tool for both healthcare professionals and patients. With low-code builders like Digitise, organisations have been able to create purpose-built apps in every corner of care – from appointment bookings and outpatient communications to internal scheduling and clinical assessments.

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West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust

West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust’s Theatre Porter app is a great NDL Community example of a solution that benefits both patients and healthcare professionals. Dubbed ‘Uber for patients’, the app replaces a previously paper-based scheduling process involving taking patients from wards to theatre for surgery. The app has halved the time it takes to get patients to theatre, and has resolved challenges in schedule changes where the previous, paper-based process could not be updated dynamically. Theatre Porters are now able to work more efficiently, and patients aren’t subject to anxiety-inducing uncertainty around timings.

Local government           

Mobile apps have transformed the way councils engage with citizens, making services more accessible and responsive. Apps enable both residents and Council Officers working in the field to report issues (such as potholes, graffiti, fly-tipping or faulty streetlights and more) directly from their smartphones, improving response times and enhancing community satisfaction. Similarly, mobile apps can provide real-time information on local events, public transportation, and council services with back-office integration, making it easier for citizens to stay informed and participate in community decisions.

Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Council

Another great example from the community can be found at the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Council, with its Community and Resident-focused Environmental Services Transformation (CREST) app. Used by over 50 officers and wardens across four different teams, the app allows field workers to complete more visit reports with functionality such as map integration, photo uploading, offline working and access to data held in back-office systems. The app has already eradicated rekeying and revolutionised remote data capture, allowing officials to capture richer, more accurate information.

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Social housing

Mobile apps have also proven invaluable in the social housing sector, allowing housing organisations to efficiently manage properties and provide better services to tenants. These apps allow tenants to report maintenance issues promptly, track repair progress, and communicate with their housing providers. Additionally, mobile apps streamline rent payments, eliminating the need for physical visits or lengthy paperwork, enabling tenants to manage their accounts conveniently.

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Home Group

Home Group also utilised mobile apps to improve the experience of its tenants while simultaneously uplifting processes for its care professionals. Creating an app that replaces a previously paper-based process, Home Group digitised its data capture for at-home visits, allowing care staff to assess the needs of tenants in real-time. Accurate and up-to-date information on tenants’ wellbeing, next of kin, key risks, goals and tasks now reach back-office systems quickly and with complete accuracy. This ensures workers are well equipped to provide specialist, tailored care on a case-by-case basis.

Transform services with NDL Digitise

Mobile apps have significantly transformed the way frontline workers operate within the UK public sector – creating people-centric processes to deliver high-quality public services. Ready to digitise processes within your own organisation? Don’t hesitate to book your free demo today.