Northern Devon Healthcare Trust has saved £750,000 from a mobile working deployment through clinical staff spending less time on administration.

The trust rolled out a mobile working programme to 800 community health professionals 18 months ago, which the trust says has enabled clinical staff to spend more time caring for patients.

The mobile working project, known as "ComPAS", was created using integration and mobile working toolkits from specialist software house NDL, which works with around 70 other NHS trusts.

NDL’s technology was used in conjunction with the trust’s own in-house patient information system, to allow nurses and therapists working in the field to access and update information hosted on back office systems via Samsung Galaxy tablets.

The mobile system also delivers mapping technology for appointments, email and camera functionality to speed diagnosis, as well as the remote updating of patient records.

The trust says this way of working creates real-time patient records that can be accessed by multi-disciplinary teams. The system has seen over half a million appointments created to date, with 9,000 contacts entered by over 130 teams each week.

Keri Storey, assistant director of health and social care at NDHT, said: “When we started ComPAS we had two aims, to help NDHT deliver excellent community care and to ensure compliance with the Department of Health’s Community Information Data Set (CIDS) directive."

The directive requires clinicians to collect various data sets on their activities and patient outcomes, which the trust then has to pass on to the Department of Health.

Storey said the financial ramifications of implementing CIDS conventionally would have cost the trust around £1.1 million in administration costs, but that the cost has been brought down with the mobile working programme.

CIDS compliance has been achieved while avoiding the need to either divert clinical expertise or employing additional administrative staff to input data twice.

The Commissioning for Quality and Innovation Payment Framework (CQUIN) was introduced by the Department of Health in 2009, and makes a proportion of healthcare providers’ income conditional on demonstrating improvements in quality and innovation in areas of care specified by local commissioning groups.

Using the mobile system, says the trust, means CQUIN data, worth £250,000 annually, is collected at no extra cost. This is on top of a further £500,000 of savings that have been identified by the trust around planning and resourcing.

Earlier this month the government launched a new NHS procurement strategy. The government wants to put new procurement systems in place and get rid of an over reliance on framework agreements that are not delivering big enough savings.