App helps find equipment and personnel in COVID-19 crisis
May 1, 2020
VANCOUVER – Thrive Health has developed an app for tracking equipment, clinicians and staff in hospitals that’s now being used in 39 of British Columbia’s hospitals, across three health authorities. The COVID-19 Critical Care Resource Management app allows front-line personnel – from doctors and nurses to administrators – to rapidly locate gear such as gowns, gloves or ventilators on the spur of the moment.
In the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, with situations quickly changing, the ability to locate and call on these resources can be lifesaving – especially when it comes to personal protective equipment (PPE).
And while many hospitals have traditional inventory systems and HR applications, they’re usually “back-end” solutions that are operated away from the action. By contrast, the new COVID-19 Critical Care Resource Management platform is available and useful to those fighting the disease on the front lines, and who many need equipment or staff help immediately.
“We’re giving people a quick and centralized view of what they have and where it is,” said David Helliwell. “It also lets them allocate it with the highest priority.”
Helliwell said getting the information into the system for each hospital takes only a few days. It’s then available to front-line care-givers and administrators on their phones and tablets, and works just like an app.
Not only can sources of supplies be updated quickly – including donations of PPE from local businesses. So can non-traditional sources of personnel, such as medical students, retired doctors and nurses, who are coming to the aid of hospitals.
Thrive previously created a COVID-19 app that is designed for the “consumer” market. It enables users to monitor and gauge their symptoms – such as temperature and coughing – showing whether they need further medical attention. As well, it provides information about the coronavirus and provides guidelines from the federal and provincial governments.
The consumer COVID-19 app was made available in March and quickly became the top medical app in the Apple iStore and on Google Play. Helliwell said it has been downloaded and used by 7 million people.
That app also ties into public health agencies and is giving the Public Health Agency of Canada another way to monitor the progress of COVID-19 across the country.
To create the Critical Care Resource Management application, Thrive Health partnered with Traction on Demand, Salesforce and the government of British Columbia. Helliwell noted that Traction on Demand is a large, Vancouver software company with 1,000 employees and a great amount of expertise in Salesforce.
Together, the partners produced the app within a matter of weeks. As Helliwell explains, Salesforce is a good choice for the platform because the company’s software has strengths in inventory management and transactions.
It is also a cloud application, making it easy to use across organizations.
For its part, Salesforce is donating licences for several months, making the app cost-effective for the users. Thrive Health is doing this, too. “We really wanted to get it out there,” said Helliwell. “We’re interested in saving lives.”
The app also gives regions a view of how resources are being used in the hospitals. Fraser Health, the Provincial Health Services Authority and Vancouver Coastal Health are all using it in this way, to help keep tabs on equipment and resources in hospitals.
Helliwell observed that the Critical Care Resource Management app is geared towards emergencies and disasters. And while it is proving to be useful in the current COVID-19 crisis, he says it will be equally helpful in the future. “There are likely to be other disasters, from earthquakes to fires and floods, where it will be very useful.”
While it is being quickly adopted by hospitals in BC, the app is also available to medical centres across Canada. What’s more, Salesforce is about to start distributing it in the United States.
For its part, Thrive Health has experience in building apps for pre-surgical planning, to prepare patients for their procedures. It also creates apps for medical specialists. Helliwell said this background allowed it to design and turn out the COVID-19 consumer and hospital apps in short order. “For us, it didn’t require a lot of re-tooling,” he said.