By Sarah Carlin on 4 October 2018
Hot topics: The stories that caught our eye last week
As anyone who has spent time in hospital will testify, trying to get a good night’s sleep in the cacophony of a busy ward is no easy feat. And one thing that makes it even harder is the requirement for nurses to wake patients frequently to carry out monitoring, or ‘obs’. Therefore we were pleased to learn this may soon be a thing of the past due to new technology from Oxehealth, which can monitor vital signs remotely and has just been certified as a Class 2a medical device in Europe by the British Standards Institute. This is a good example of how even seemingly simple digital innovations have the potential to be transformative in a hospital setting, reducing the burden on nurses and promoting patient well-being, something which in turn, could lessen pressure on beds.
And sticking with the subject of sleep, we were also delighted to see our client Sleepio make a splash in the national and trade press last week as their “digital sleeping pill” app began its roll-out in the South East of England. This came as research led by Oxford University found that almost three-quarters of those following the programme saw an improvement in their well-being, largely a result of reduced insomnia. The study of 1,700 adults found that on average, “sleep-related quality of life” was boosted by almost a fifth, six months after starting the six-week programme. Participants also reported a reduction in depression, anxiety and fatigue and greater productivity at work. More coverage here, here and here
Given that being more ‘on it’ in the workplace is one of the positive side effects of Sleepio, it’s no wonder that major employers like Oxford University, Boston Medical, Comcast and LinkedIn are all using it. Another firm which recognises how the right amount of sleep can hugely improve quality of life is Google, another employer offering a sleep programme as part of its extensive benefits package.
An exclusive in Employee Benefits magazine details how, by analysing feedback from staff taking part in its annual ‘people health’ survey, the tech giant has implemented a number of programmes supporting employee well-being, including life insurance policies, time for ‘baby bonding’ for non-birth parents, mindfulness sessions, massages and a ‘second medical opinion’ benefit. While employee surveys are nothing new, using the findings to shape employee benefits in quite such a precise way is something to shout out.
Certainly, many miles away from Silicon Valley, it will be interesting to see just how much of the feedback health and social care workers will be providing as part of the newly-launched Talk Health and Care digital toolbox will be taken on board by the Department of Health and what actions – if any – are taken as a result of health workers sharing their experience of life on the front line.