15/10/2018 Reducction: Bringing Tech into medical practices
#COOLSTUFF Reducction: Bringing Tech into medical practices
We have recently been working with the Renal & Metabolic Unit at The George Institute for Global Health to support their research into catheter related infections and provide intervention strategies to dialysis units throughout Australia and globally. Although it may come as quite a surprise, major events such as life-threatening hospital acquired catheter infections are not collected or reported at a national level. As a result, we have little idea about how many of these occur, how much they cost the health system and how they can be prevented. This is why the REDUCCTION project was started by The George, and we were incredibly excited to take on the challenge of helping them; to help hospitals improve their procedures and lower infection rates.
This project came at a time where the industry is beginning to take note of technological opportunities, as has been explored by Zebra Technologies:
“Thanks to the adoption of clinical mobility, hospitals around the world are eliminating manual, error-prone procedures and replacing them with digital solutions that increase the accuracy of patient identification, streamline processes, improve the quality of patient care and enhance overall visibility. By digitally capturing information, data can be transmitted in real time to clinical staff, reducing – even eliminating – errors and delivering critical time savings.” (Zebra Technologies, 2017).
Working with the Renal & Metabolic Research Unit, The Project Factory (lead by Executive Producer Lynette Reeves) developed a web platform specifically designed for nursing staff to input data on dialysis catheter-related procedures for their patients to allow more accurate monitoring of catheter usage and the factors influencing infection rates. This system was set up to enable better real time information for clinicians based on input data and patterns to prevent catheter related infections.
The first part of the trial to capture data was implemented for a period of at least 12 months at 37 Australian renal units and included over 3470 participants. The second part of the trial – the intervention stage alongside the data capture – has been rolled out to one third of these hospitals, with the others to come on board over the next few months. This phase involves the implementation of a suite of evidence-based interventions around catheter care. The project aims to reduce the number of catheter infections that occur at hospitals nationwide.
Although data on the trial cannot yet be shared, what has been really insightful is the feedback we’ve received from nursing staff all around ANZ. Just having a tool that allows them to capture data and see live statistics about their hospital’s infection rates has proven invaluable to their everyday working practices, and many have asked to make sure the tool is made available to them even after the end of the clinical trial period.
One nurse describes her experience:
“The website makes entering data and pull customised reports so much easier. Not only is information on our infection rate beneficial, but we can easily look at other stats such as total lines days and interventions which we can feed back to the Unit and look at our practice. We were never able to do this so easily before.”
The use of real data to improve healthcare and hospital procedures is of huge importance globally and we are excited to see more and more medical centres showcasing their interest and investment in building technology driven systems.
According to Zebra Technologies (2017) “Over 96% of doctors and bedside nurses are expected to use mobile devices by 2022”. This changing face of the health industry is a movement we are incredibly proud to be a part of and cannot wait to see what technology solution is next on the medical agenda.