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In brief .... 25 September 2015



Government looks at quantum sensing

A government team is looking at the potential of quantum sensing as part of the third round of ‘horizon scanning’ of new technologies that could be used in public services.

It will be part of a report, due to be published by the end of the year, focused on what could support services and boost national productivity.

According to a blogpost from the Cabinet Office Analysis and Insight Team, quantum sensing could be used for purposes such as ensuring utility companies only dig holes in the road when they are absolutely needed.

“Horizon scanning is all about anticipating change, minimising risk and being ready to adapt,” it says. “It requires long range thinking about infrastructure, regulation, skills and public perceptions.”

The team in charge, drawn from the Government Office for Science and the Cabinet Office, is beginning to crowdsource views from the technology industry and academics. It plans a series of round table discussions, and wants to identify trends in patenting and publicly funded research.

Previous rounds of horizon scanning have highlighted the potential of technologies such as 3D printing and the internet of things.


UCLH unveils mobile app for patient care

University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has created a mobile iOS app to securely display a variety of imaging and pathology results, as well as locating a patient’s bed within the hospital and providing information such as allergies, flagging alerts and test results.

Named FindMyPatient, it was developed in cooperation with CGI Group, an IT and business processes service firm. The company said the app should save doctors from using printed information or having to use computer terminals to find patients.

It has been tested in a pilot over the past three months and will now be made available to clinicians around UCLH.

Richard Cohen, a colorectal consultant at UCLH, said: “I’ve been using FindMyPatient for the past few months and have found that it has made a real difference to my ability to access information on my patients. The app is a great example of how well conceived IT can help clinicians balance the pressures of modern healthcare.

“One of the great advantages is that I can use the app outside the hospital to review the patients under my care, which was previously complicated. The app is a real step forward in facilitating patient care.”


Mid Devon implements hfx system

Mid Devon District Council has implemented the latest version of flexible working solutions from hfx for its time recording, absence analysis and planning system.

The real time data in a dashboard format provides council management with a complete picture of workplace staffing levels, enabling them to plan scenarios and ensure sufficient resourcing levels for vital council services.

Lisa Lewis, development manager at Mid Devon, said: “We are able to manage an unlimited number of working patterns, which is essential for us. We have a diverse workforce delivering a multitude of services to a largely rural community and therefore flexibility is fundamental. With this solution we can provide flexibility to our employees and to date approximately 75% of our workforce is using the hfx solution.”

Employees use the web interface to clock in and out of the system regardless of their geographical location, for example if they are working at a different site or from home.

Scotland looks at digital learning

The Scottish Government has launched a consultation on the role of digital technology in the country’s education system. It is asking a number of questions about how well schools are harnessing the technology in teaching students, and helping to develop their IT skills.

One of the principles on which the consultation is based is that the design and implementation of new technology should be based on open standards and form part of Scotland’s wider public sector digital ecosystem. The consultation document says this will maximise the ability to share common services and get an effective return on investment.

The other principles are: combining local leadership with national support; encouraging partnership working; creating opportunities for all learners; and responding to the evolution of digital technology.


Capita acquires Electranet

Business process provider Capita has taken over Electranet, one of the few suppliers of network communication infrastructure approved to hold UK government protected information.

The company handles highly secure data and is approved to sponsor its own workforce through national security vetting processes.

Andy Parker, Capita’s chief executive, said: “This business will allow Capita to build on its existing expertise and deliver highly secure services to both new and existing customers.

“We will integrate Electranet’s skills and experience into Capita’s services in a number of key sectors – driving forward organic growth and expanding our capability to build innovative new IT enabled solutions.”


Image from Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, public domain via Wikimedia Commons


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