Developing a Mobile Device to Record Mental Health Inpatient Data: A Digital Revolution


In the hushed corridors of mental health inpatient wards, where whispered conversations and guarded glances prevail, a quiet revolution is underway. Picture this: a portable electronic device, no larger than a mobile phone, poised to transform the way we record and manage patient observations. Welcome to the world of eObs—a beacon of hope for streamlined care and improved outcomes.

Why Triage Matters

Patient observations are the lifeblood of psychiatric care. Traditionally, nurses meticulously charted these observations on paper, a laborious process prone to errors and delays. But eObs changes the game. Here’s why:

  1. Efficiency Unleashed: With eObs, patient observations are recorded more efficiently than ever before. No more deciphering illegible handwriting or shuffling through stacks of paper charts. Just a few taps on a handheld screen, and critical data is captured instantly.
  2. Whereabouts and Arousal Levels: Imagine a nurse tracking a patient’s whereabouts within the ward, monitoring their arousal levels from serene slumber to agitated distress. eObs does precisely that, providing real-time insights that empower clinical decision-making.

The Birth of eObs

In 2012-13, the South London and Maudsley Foundation Trust (SLaM) embarked on a daring experiment. They piloted eObs—a handheld device designed by their own nursing team—to record mental health inpatient data. This 15-bed unit for adults with autism became the testing ground for a digital metamorphosis.

Feasibility and Insights

An audit followed, assessing the feasibility of eObs. Nurses embraced the device, recognizing its potential to revolutionize care delivery. But challenges remained. Staff reservations about technology adoption lingered. Would eObs truly enhance existing practices? The answer lay in the data.

The Road Ahead

As we peer into the future, envision an interconnected network of mental health wards armed with eObs devices. Imagine seamless data flow, real-time alerts, and predictive analytics guiding interventions. But this transformation isn’t just about gadgets; it’s about empowering patients, carers, and staff. Their voices must echo in the corridors of progress, flagging safety concerns and shaping the path forward.


So, let’s raise our digital glasses to eObs—a beacon of hope, a guardian of patient safety, and a testament to the power of innovation. As we navigate the labyrinth of mental health care, let eObs be our compass, pointing toward a brighter, data-driven horizon.

Remember, in the quiet hum of progress, eObs whispers, “This one first, that one next.”


  1. Development of a mobile device to record mental health inpatient data | Nursing Times
  2. Rapid review into data on mental health inpatient settings: final report and recommendations – GOV.UK
  3. National Mental Health Services Survey (N-MHSS)
  4. FastStats – Mental Health – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention