PATIENTS have welcomed the drive to use pioneering technology to improve care provided at Basildon Hospital.

Hospital staff are using new mobile phone apps to improve care with the hospital leading the way and helping provide patients with constant access to medical advice.

Basildon Hospital recently announced the use of Maternity Direct - an app that allows mums to message their midwife at any time, with any question.

And just last week the hospital announced it would start using a paperclip-sized device that monitors your heart and sends data from your smartphone to the hospital.

As a result, the hospital has constant access to heart readings and can call a patient in if they spot irregularities.

And both apps will help reassure patients - all with the added benefit of reducing the amount of time they need to spend at the hospital.

Clare Matthews, 31, of Langdon Hills, is expecting her first child and is using the maternity direct app to gain advice from her midwife.

She said: “It is daunting being a first-time mum, you’re experiencing something you never have before, feelings you don’t quite understand and you have no idea what normal is.

“I have 100 questions-a-day, but you never know whether it is a valid concern or if you are being a tad silly.

“Now, if something doesn’t feel right or I am worried, I get out my phone and message the midwife - almost as if I am texting my mum or a close friend.

“It helps everyone, the hospital doesn’t need mums on the phones every day or coming in for appointments when it is something minor, now you send a message and know you will get an answer in a few hours and some advice.”

Both Maternity Direct and the Abbott’s Confirm Rx Implantable Cardiac Monitor - the paper clip heart monitor - aim to reduce the amount of time patients spend at hospitals by remotely monitoring them.

The paperclip heart monitor sends data directly to a team of cardiac physiologists who can analyse the patients heart rhythm remotely in case of problems.

If they pick up abnormal rhythms, the patient will be called in to discuss treatment, if everything is ticking along with no issue, the amount of regular check ups needed is reduced.

Developers working on Maternity Direct found that women had many questions regarding their pregnancy between scheduled midwife appointments.

Feedback from women found that searching online did not instil confidence, while some felt uncomfortable contacting their midwife or maternity unit with non-urgent enquiries.

Lesley Overy, head of midwifery, nursing and quality at Basildon Hospital, said: “This app is a fantastic step forward to helping provide women with greater confidence during their pregnancy.

“With up-to-date information and a midwife to hand, women can access non-urgent support and advice when they need it.

“The need to organise non-urgent appointments may also be reduced, saving women time whilst protecting our appointments for those women who require closer monitoring”.

The hospital is looking at other opportunities to use technology.