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IT and IPAC collaborate to develop an app to improve data collection

HAMILTON, ONT. – Healthcare is a fast paced environment and access to up to date, accurate data is key to ensuring patient and staff safety. St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton explored the possibility of moving away from paper-based infection-prevention audits to improve the auditing process and the timeliness of reports to the clinical units.

After completing a detailed environmental scan and looking at existing products, the organization decided it would be better suited to developing its own custom application to meet SJHH’s specific needs.

Representatives from IT and IPAC teamed up with a local app development firm, Weever Apps Inc., to create a customizable tool that could be used to support a wide variety of infection prevention audit types and workflows. The tools would have to meet the auditing needs of a variety of different quality improvement working groups and the infection prevention and control team.

The IPAC team initiated the project, and worked with the Information and Communication Technologies Project Management Office to scope the project, document all the requirements and coordinate the development efforts with Weever Apps, to deliver a high quality product.

It took about six months to develop the app, which has been in use since August 2016.

The tool offers the ability to use Apple iPad devices to conduct IPAC audits throughout the SJHH organization, using an efficient checklist entry model. Each auditable point can be annotated with a photograph and comment if required, which transforms the level of effectiveness in capturing and conveying the particulars of compliance items.

Once the audit data has been collected, the tool can generate summary reports, which allow the ability to email PDFs of each audit summary, including comments and pictures to unit managers and others. As a result, the timeliness and impact of the reports is greatly improved.

Audit form content can be maintained by the IPAC team using the flexible form management tooling built into the system by Weever Apps. Changes to the audit tools can be made based on feedback from the users and the clinical teams who receive the reports. A complex change request process is not required.

“Having the ability to add pictures to the audits brings the audit results to life for the clinical managers. They can see the gap identified by the auditor, reducing the needs for extensive written descriptions required by a paper tool,” said Demetree Kallergis, Project Manager, and a member of the Information and Communication Technologies Team.

The app is used primarily by the hospital’s Infection Control professionals, but since November working group members have also been using the tools and this has made data collection and the summary of findings even easier to complete. About five Infection Control audits are done each week, but depending on the week, it can be as high as 30.

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