Junior doctors launch app to improve communication

A group of NHS doctors have launched an app to help the way clinical staff communicate with each other and to ease the current pressures on the organisation.

The Forward app supports the complex communication needs of clinical teams and is aimed at freeing up doctors from relying on outdated equipment such as pagers and landlines.

Two junior doctors, Lydia Yarlott and Barney Gilbert, founded the app alongside mobile entrepreneur Philip Mundy, after becoming frustrated with the current systems used on the NHS.

The team began developing a secure, compliant tech platform which allows clinical staff to easily contact each other, prioritise tasks and safely share patient information. Since the app’s development, they have been joined by another five junior doctors to help scale the platform.

Dr Lydia Yarlott, said: “As soon as I started working in hospitals, I was struck by how much time I was wasting trying to navigate switchboards or running around trying to respond to my pager. The inefficiency of the set-up was staggering. I had a powerful smartphone in my pocket, but was stuck using a 1960s-style communications network. My colleagues and I were wasting hours every day; time we could have been spending with patients.

“After getting sick of the daily frustrations it was causing, my co-founders and I decided to find a solution. That’s how Forward was born. It’s a simple tool that can support the complex communication needs every clinical team has. You can instant message your team and easily contact others in the hospital without needing their mobile number. You can also prioritise tasks, manage workloads and share patient updates. Crucially, these communications are secure and subject to the highest levels of Data Protection, which is vital in our sector.

“This is a solution built for doctors, by doctors and one which we believe could make a drastic difference to how much time we’re able to spend with patients. With many NHS wards at breaking point this winter, technology solutions like Forward are desperately needed.”

The app is free to download for all NHS Clinicians and has since been taken up by 1,500 clinical staff across the UK. The team estimates that doctors and nurses could save up to an hour of their time every day by using the app.