The Scottish government has announced a £1m fund to boost access to mobile technology for nurses working in the community.
The additional funding will be made available to health boards in the current financial year. It should mean nurses will be able access patient information or to update records electronically.
Boards must submit bids for part of the fund by the middle of December. Applications will be evaluated by the end of December and the technology hopefully rolled out before 31 March.
Use of the fund is not restricted to community nursing, but extends to all health staff based in the community.
Scottish health secretary Alex Neil said: “Technology is invaluable for nurses who work in community settings and through this new fund they will be able to choose what device is best for them.
“Traditionally community nurses had to wait until they returned to the hospital to update patient records but now they can be updated automatically,” he said.
“This new fund will cut down nurses’ administration time allowing them to spend more time with patients. That’s good news for everyone.”
RCN Scotland director Theresa Fyffe welcomed the investment.
She said: “We hope health boards will use it to fund a further roll-out of devices, such as digipens, which can save nurses valuable time when assessing patients in the community setting and contribute to their ability to deliver high-quality individual care.
“It is vital that the benefits from this extra investment are locked-in for the future and we will continue to work with the Scottish Government to ensure that the eHealth budget is fit for purpose for future years.”
The Department of Health in England announced in October that £100m would be made available to spend on mobile technology for nurses and midwives working in both acute and community settings.