EE to help NHS save £585m a year with 4G service

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New technology can cut the estimated 12 million missed or cancelled appointments in the NHS by 65 per cent. Police service also benefiting. 

EE says it can help save the National Health Service (NHS) almost £600 million a year by deploying its new dedicated SMS and app solution, aimed at reducing the number of missed appointments and boosting staff efficiency. 

The claim was made EE CEO Olaf Swantee, who was speaking to Mobile News at the operators 4G business event in East Central London this week, described EE as entering a “new era” for 4G and a breakthrough in its benefits to the market.

Swantee highlighted the NHS as an example of an organisation facing “a lot of challenges”, particularly around staff efficiency. According to the NHS, more than 12 million appointments are missed every year, costing the organisation around £585 million.

“We are at the start of a new era where 4G is now a critical service that is changing UK businesses and enhancing the most important public services,” said Swantee . “The NHS has a lot of challenges. One of those efficiency challenges is that they have around 12 million appointments which are either cancelled or changed at the last minute every year. That’s an incredible inefficiency. With a dedicated mobile connected solution, we estimate with the NHS this can be reduced, the total number of appointments, can save half a billion pounds and reducing missed appointments by 65 per cent.”

Intelligent messaging 

EE has been working with the NHS to provide a more interactive service between patients and their GP/surgery, allowing them to cancel and rebook appointments using their mobile phone

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The operator recently won a contract with the NHS from Vodafone, to carry the estimated 25 million SMS appointment reminders sent each year over its network.

EE is now enhancing the service to enable patients to cancel their appointments by replying directly to the text message. This, according to EE will help remove obstacles experienced by patients in cancelling, such as forgetting or being unable to get through to the surgery. The new intelligent messaging service will enable GP’s to see more patients as well as better managing their own and their staff agendas.

EE chief marketing officer Gerry McQuade said: “Today we have contracts with all the English, and Wales trusts and already send 20 million messages a month for those. What we are announcing today is an enhanced intelligent messaging service that allows secure two way messaging between trust employees and consumers.”

The operator has also begun trials of a new smartphone application which provides the ability to cancel appointments, but also to view their GP’s diary to re-book. Other services such as medication reminders are also set to be included.

Both services are currently being trialled with a number of selected NHS trusts across the UK.

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Police / Construction

In addition to the NHS, EE is also working closely with the Staffordshire Police to help boost the efficiency of front line officers using 4G.

The operator has been working with the police unit for the past year, with around 1,900 officers now carrying 4G connected devices (smartphones and tablets). Each device has a dedicated secure application, which can be used to carry out duties including , taking witness statement, photographing evidence and accessing information from the Police National Computer.

Staffordshire Police said the implementation of the services has saved more than 250,000 over the year, equivalent to 100 officers on the beat.

Staffordshire Police IT transformation programme manager Craig Warmington said: “We are in the final stages of equipping our 2,000 front line staff with mobile devices. This is enabling our offices to spend time out in the community, where they want to be, where they are trained to be tackling crime and serving the community.

“It really is transforming policing. We had a recent incident with a road side accident, where our officers responded to the incident, collected the various statements and able to submit that information in minutes. Previously that would have taken hours and in some cases more than a day. When information is submitted that quickly, it can used quickly. We have become heavily dependent on our connected technology.”

A number of Staffordshire Police vehicles are also now connected thanks to EE technology, transforming police cars and vans into WiFi hotspots.

Services include real time location, number plate recognition services, as well as the name and profiles of those inside. This according to Warmington has helped deploy officers to specific incidents based on their skills.

Information can also be shared between other emergency services, such as ambuland and fire brigade, allowing for faster reaction times.

“It’s a service which is transforming the way officer work and how vehicles are used,” said Warmington.”It’s making us more efficient and more effective.”

Swantee added: “We can save the NHS money and we can put more officers on the beat. 4G is moving beyond being a good technology to becoming a technology for good.”

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