survey of WiFi access for NHS staff


Locum General Hacktitioner, North West UK

Director, @openGPSoC & BawMedical

eHealth, Dermatology, Prison, Hospice

Medical Director, @NeovaHealth

Previous Life #1: Emergency Physician

Previous Life #2: Anaesthetist



in places where WiFi was present, local clinicians assumed everybody had similar levels of WiFi access

conversely, where WiFi was absent, clinicians assumed nobody had WiFi

nobody actually had a picture of WiFi access across the whole NHS


John Popham - Patient WiFi

2013 results

"Which of the following best describes Staff access to WiFi at your place of NHS work?"

My organisation has a free WiFi network and I have the password 20.30%

My organisation has a free WiFi network but I do not have the password 20.18%

My place of work has installed its own free WiFi outside of NHS provision 2.63%

WiFi service that is not free (eg Commercial Provider) 3.76%

No WiFi - there are no WiFi networks at all 36.22%

EduRoam academic network 1.38%

The "12%"

12.16% responded 'Other'

A large proportion of these were along the lines of

"There is WiFi for managers and IT staff only"


Why do clinicians need WiFi anyway?

(aren't you meant to be working?)

knowledge resources at the point of care


better decision making

based on better evidence and latest guidance

better information for patients

most up-to-date information is internet based...

searchable... comparable... reviewed...

carrying a load of books around is increasingly infeasible

"Were there none who were discontented with what they have, the world would never reach anything better"

Florence Nightingale, Cassandra, 1860

"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world:
the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself...

Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man"

George Bernard Shaw, Maxims for Revolutionaries, 1903

Why isn't he talking about mobile access to EHRs, test results, radiology?

it's a whole other can of worms

issues with interfacing with EHRs

vendor-specific complications & obstinacy

Information Governance, security, device lockdown, authentication

let's leave that for another day shall we...

Medical School iPads

Numerous medical schools (Manchester, Leicester, Dartmouth) are providing iPads to all medical students http://bit.ly/1wU0RBh

2013 survey impact

turns out...

HSCIC & NHS England don't actually have any of this information

but they were interested to hear about it

presented findings to Jonathan Kay, Clinical Informatics Director, NHS England

presented last year at Skunkworks, NHS England


repeated the survey

supported by e-Health Insider

same basic idea, questions tweaked slightly


LimeSurvey-powered (open source self hosted survey engine)

Sept-Oct 2014 about 500 respondents

survey design had to compromise between simplicity and perfection of data

Can you access WiFi in
your place of NHS work?

2013 YES 28.07%

(sum of all 'yeswifi' answers incl non-free etc)

2014 YES 51.24%

'YesWiFi' subgroup

I can connect to WiFi with my own device (BYOD) 61.13%

I can connect to WiFi with a work-provided device 53.04%

WiFi requires login on a web page after device connects to WiFi network 42.91%

I have access to EduRoam, the academic WiFi network 5.67%

WiFi is provided by a commercial service 22.67%

WiFi access is free 77.33%

WiFi access works in most areas of my workplace that I need it to 52.63%

'NoWiFi' subgroup

WiFi access is only for work devices and I haven't been provided with one 52.36%

WiFi isn't required - internet and clinical record access via Desktop PCs is sufficient 10.85%

There are no WiFi networks at all 28.77%

There is a good mobile data signal (ie 3G, 4G) in my place of work 11.79%


Definite improvement over last year's results

Still only 50% of clinical staff have access though

Still a lot of comments that WiFi is available but only for IT staff/Managers (and in one commment the cleaners - ?hyperbole) but not Clinical staff.

Even where WiFi is present, 30% is non-free

And only 50% reported it was everywhere it is needed

My Messages

WiFi is not a toy, clinicians need it to work smarter and safer

Not providing WiFi for your clinicians is like having no hospital Library

Allow BYOD. You trust clinicians to treat patients don't you?

If you want to provide Trust hardware, fine, just don't make this a roadblock

Landing page logins significantly reduce usability


Survey is running again!


Links & Thanks




Reveal.js presentation framework https://github.com/hakimel/reveal.js