Changing medical jobs or working in multiple hospitals is often a frustrating experience. Switch wait times can be agonisingly long, and at least in my experience, hospital intranet telephone directories are frequently inaccurate and unhelpful in connecting to the relevant department or individual required.
The Induction Switch app hopes to change all of this through a telephone directory and messaging app which works for the vast majority of UK hospitals (171 from 214 NHS hospitals at present). Induction Switch is free and can be downloaded from the Google Play store or the Apple App store.
The key function of the app is the storage of hospital bleeps and extensions for departments which can be automatically dialled through your mobile phone. If the number required does not exist or is incorrect the information can be added, saved or updated by individuals and is then saved for other users. The app also offers individual adaptions such as saving favourite numbers, storing private codes and private numbers, links and documents. If you are lucky enough to work at multiple hospital sites, hospitals can be easily added so that you have access to the entire telephone directory at each site.
The app is available through the NHSX procurement network for NHS trusts to purchase premium features at an additional cost. These features include uploading trust policy and guidance documents into a ‘team space’ and allowing messaging between trust hospital teams. Other functions include broadcast alerts via the apps newsfeed and automated mirroring of intranet content for quick access on staff phones and Single Sign On (SSO) via integration with Active Directory, and the potential to integrate with patient lists and electronic patient record systems (if compatible).
Induction Switch is currently being widely used by doctors for replacing the hospital directory of telephone extensions and bleeps. If the messaging service is widely adopted it could securely replace commercial unapproved services such as WhatsApp, iMessage and may unify the fragmented medical messaging market of medical messaging apps such as Siilo and Pando.
This is an excellent app which should help the entire hospital workforce navigate through the hospital labyrinth of telephones and bleep systems. Hopefully, further refinement and implementation such as using the internal messaging systems and team spaces for handover documents between teams will ease induction processes for new doctors, help the dissemination of clinical guidance and improve access to timely clinical care.