Microsoft helps WA's NHMS respond to COVID-19


By Dylan Bushell-Embling
Thursday, 20 August, 2020


Microsoft helps WA's NHMS respond to COVID-19

Microsoft has announced it has helped Western Australia’s North Metro Health Service (NHMS) streamline patient data collection in response to COVID-19.

At the onset of the outbreak, the health service engaged Microsoft to develop a digital solution for collecting patient data, obviating the need to rely on manual data collections using pen and paper.

Manual data collection exposes health workers because paper can’t be wiped down to clean off viruses and increases the risk of error.

Using Microsoft Power Apps, the company’s low code development solution, the NHMS was able to develop, proof of concept and deploy a superior solution over a period of just two weeks.

The app is now being used to collect patient information, with NMHS staff interviewing patients and filling out a questionnaire on a mobile device. This data is securely stored in WA Health’s data warehouse and made available for future clinical consultations with any patient who tests positive.

This allowed the agency to accelerate treatment and reduce the burden on staff. The system has also been designed so that a letter from the hospital to the patient’s GP is automatically generated to ensure proper continuity of care when the patient returns to the community.

NMHS Manager of Business Information and Performance Michael Campbell said the solution is putting critical patient information at the fingertips of frontline medical workers.

“The beauty of it is that when you open the app, you’ve got a short medical history of the patient that you’re dealing with,” he said.

“Rather than weeding through reams of paper, I can have a look at this and say, ‘All right, this patient’s a diabetic. She’s got hypertension, she’s got ischemic heart disease. She’s a smoker’.”

The data is currently only available for doctors and consultants, but NMHS plans to explore how nurse managers and nursing staff could also benefit from having access to the information.

The NHMS is also planning to duplicate the model to develop apps to streamline the treatment of other conditions, potentially starting with asthma clinics and pulmonary conditions.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/chamsitr

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