What is this Guide?

This guide aims to help social care providers understand the options to choose from when introducing smartphones or similar mobile devices into services. This includes the key factors of safety and cost. Within this guide we specifically cover two options:

  1. providing company phones
  2. using software that is designed so staff can use their personal devices.

This means we will walk through how much you want the devices to do in your organisation, looking at whether buying phones/devices to hand out to staff or asking staff to use their own smartphones is best – so you can decide what level of use is right for you and how to do it.

This is regardless of your existing experience level with tech in care and will help you understand how cost and security can be ensured whatever you choose to do.

We have also produced template policies for you to use in your organisation: Template Policies

Company Phones or Bring your Own?

Value vs Safety

The technological advancements around smartphone devices are massive and this continues to grow just as quickly as ever.

These devices mean you can bring all your communications, from emails, texts, letters and announcements, into one place. You could have live visit tracking and updates about people’s conditions, to major organisational processes being faster, stronger and more automatic and taking pressure off staff.

This means less paperwork, safer systems and everyone being connected to each other instantly. But the explosion of personal technology that is so advanced and involves such complicated data means that safe control of personal information and new codes of conduct must be put in place, as well as us all being trained to properly understand what the risks really are. This process has to match the massive technological advancement, but if it is done right it can mean bigger, better, faster and safer services and more of staff time being dedicated to care.

Smartphones are like little web-connected computers in everyone’s pockets.

The opportunities this offers are massive – but we must remember the risks that are also involved, especially when sharing sensitive information.

Pros and Cons – Quick Guide
Bring Your Own DeviceCorporate Owned
- More cost effective
- Staff already comfortable using the device
- Easier to ensure they are managed securely
- Better oversight
- Need to enforce BYOD policy
- Less oversight
- Cost
- May require technical expertise
How to decide

It is important to consider how you plan on using smartphones in your organisation before you decide which route to take. To help with this decision, we have identified 3 main ways in which care providers can introduce smartphones into their organisation. This ranges from basic levels of communications being moved onto digital platforms and apps, through devices accessing paperless systems and then senior management and care work being carried out through digital devices.

What kind of tasks do you want staff to use smartphones for?:

  • Level 1: For Communication e.g. texts, emails, messaging apps and calls…
  • Level 2: Paperless Systems e.g. staff use devices to look at their rotas, request annual leave, access policies and training records…
  • Level 3: Core Operations e.g. staff log in and out, process paperwork and update files through their phones, including using electronic care planning/recording software

The next pages will walk through these three main levels of use to consider what are the practical details of each option and understand what is needed to ensure you get the best balance of safety and value for your organisation.