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Sheffield Children’s Hospital bolsters care for children with new mobile app – fronted by a team of Robodogs

24th January 2022

Sheffield Children’s Hospital, one of only three dedicated children’s hospitals in the UK, is celebrating the successful roll-out of an innovative mobile care coordination app. It is transforming how the hospital works by improving communication between healthcare teams, and making handovers faster, safer, and less disruptive for the young people staying there.

The app was launched seven months ago, deployed in relevant areas of the Trust over an initial six-week period. Since then, it has been adopted by more than 1000 nurses, doctors, and other care professionals . More than 3500 digital handovers have taken place so far, across 6 wards and 25 speciality teams. Hundreds of mobile devices have been provided to hospital staff to help them get the most out of the new system.

The app, CareFlow Connect, has dramatically reduced Sheffield Children’s reliance on paper, with hospital staff now having easy, secure digital access to each child’s information, complete with notes that can be updated in real time, and a date/time stamp, for complete traceability. Mobile and cloud-based instant messaging means that they can quickly send, receive, and log information via their smart device around the clock wherever they are, including at the child’s bedside.

A creative multi-media launch campaign was used to help young patients and their parents understand the changes taking place (such as why they might see more nurses with iPads). The ‘faces’ of the campaign were Digital Theo and his digital dog, Barney, as well as a team of robotic dogs. The robodogs, which dance and bark, respond to voice or remote control.

Julia Antcliffe, Sheffield Children’s lead nurse for digital technology, who led the launch alongside the clinical digital team, said:

The robotic dogs were a lovely touch and have helped us communicate the digital changes taking place at Sheffield Children’s in a fun and personable way. We use them to start conversations and explain to the young people that we’re caring for, and their parents, what the app, iPhones and tablets are for. It puts them at ease.

Their use doesn’t stop there either. They are helping us connect with children that are perhaps a little shy or find it difficult to engage – and they definitely brought a sparkle to the wards over the festive holidays, which we all know can be a challenging time for children in hospital.

The launch of CareFlow Connect, which was provided by System C Healthcare, is part of an on-going digital transformation at Sheffield Children’s, which will continue into 2022 and beyond.

To see the Robodogs in action, you can watch their video here.

Image of Theo Tablet and robot dog