Tuesday, 21 April 2015 17:02

Medical workers team with Readify in 'critical patient' care project Featured

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Frontline medical workers in Victoria have helped software company Readify develop “groundbreaking” technology that is transforming the treatment of critically ill patients across the state.

The medical workers who worked with Readify are employed with Adult Retrieval Victoria (ARV), a department of Ambulance Victoria responsible for coordinating doctors, paramedics, ambulances, planes, helicopters and equipment to transfer critically ill patients between hospitals.

ARV, whose 30 clinical coordinators and retrieval specialists handle approximately 4,200 cases a year working with almost 150 hospitals across the state, was in the process of transitioning from paper to online processes, but was using an interim system that did not allow for real-time digital case management.

ARV engaged Readify to build two new systems - Adult Retrieval Victoria Information System’ (ARVIS) and ‘Retrieval and Critical Health Information System’ (REACH) - which it believes should become standard practice nationwide.

Director of ARV Dr Marcus Kennedy said the success of the software development project showed there was huge potential to improve retrieval and critical care coordination and clinical management.

“The system we were using provided no real-time functionality. Staff did not have a clear overview of an open patient case and data was potentially out-of-date, as the system needed to be manually refreshed after new information was added.”

In just six months, Readify delivered the ARVIS - a web-based dashboard offering a real-time interface, allowing users to see all active case information at a glance, integrating patient demographics, case logistics, communication technologies, risk mitigation and decision support tools.

“Now, when a patient has to travel between facilities, ARVIS allows us to print or email case summary material to retrieval crews and the destination hospital,” Dr Kennedy said.

“Having a system that makes communication of information clearer and easier reduces the risk of errors. Faster and more reliable delivery of retrieval patient care can mean the difference between a patient living or dying, or having a shorter course of recovery.”

The second solution, REACH, is used by ARV, health services and the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services to monitor bed occupancy in real-time through a web-based reporting tool.

“The key benefit of REACH is that it provides a state-wide and hospital level view of bed capacity for critical care, based on continuous updates from hospitals around Victoria,” Dr Kennedy said.

“It is also highly scalable, so though it may start out as a bed capacity tool, it can also indicate any resource capacity such as the range of blood products in any given hospital at one time, for instance.”

As part of REACH, Readify developed the Hospital Incident Consequence Tool for use during large-scale emergencies such as an epidemic or natural disaster to monitor hospital statuses and the impact of an incident.

“Having a dedicated tracking system means we can strategically analyse and plan for the likely impacts of a disaster event, helping staff efficiently distribute acute and critical patients to the right hospital,” Dr Kennedy said.

“ARVIS and REACH provide a comprehensive level of data about all health services, which allows for better mission planning and ultimately sees us make safer decisions and provide better care to patients across the Victorian Critical Care system.”

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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