Came across a fascinating company who build apps for non-healthcare industries who were after some advice on what use their service could be to the NHS. Actually, they asked me about general practice and I can think of one use but I’m sure there must be more.
Let me explain their app concept. Have you ever seen those sheets/log in a toilet of when they were cleaned? Signed for every hour. Do management actually check them? Or do they all get signed in one go at the end of the day – or pre-signed at the beginning of the day and put in a file in case they are ever checked? Ok as a staff member there is a small risk that a member of the public might notice it’s not been signed and report it – but I suspect that’s low.
The company I’ve met would build an app that made the cleaner – take a photo of the clean bathroom and tap a button that logged time and place. It would auto report any missed cleanings to a management console. So bosses would only have to check breaches and could randomly check photos of quality.
There are plenty of other processes – some more complex – that could be done this way as the app can give instructions as well as record actions . An example might be brewing cider or beer in which on an industrial scale might be reduced to a series of instructions like – clean fermentation device, pour in apple juice, throw in yeast, turn on heater etc. Each step could be given in the right order and the user has to sign off before being told or allowed to go to the next step. Of course, clean fermentation device might be broken down into parts which include – use this cleaning liquid, with a photo of it, perhaps requiring the user to take a photo of the solution made or pre and post levels of the cleaning liquid used to prove it was used. Similarly, photos of how much apple juice was used, how much yeast was thrown in. You can imagine that quite complex tasks, with complex checks, could be created and that’s what this company specialises in.
The aim isn’t particularly to replace skilled workers with non-skilled – its to ensure quality and consistency and reproducibility.
My simple idea for primary care was fridge checks. We keep quite a lot of vaccines in temperature controlled fridges. The vaccines are meant to be kept at a certain temperature and the min/max temps are routinely logged, by my nursing staff in my practice. Now while I wouldn’t accuse my nurses of faking the recording sheets, it is possible one day they might forget or a new member gets it wrong.
I wondered if a version of their app that allowed a number of fridges to be checked within certain parameters – e.g. once a day, recording time, place and person checking with clear instructions built in, if an error was found on what to do would be a good product and would GP practices buy it?
I’m keen to know from any primary care managers would this be something that would interest you? It might look very good to CQC to have this logged.
Alternatively for those that work in hospitals or other parts of the health service does this app sound like a good idea? Could you use it in your department? ensuring that a repetitive but complex(ish) task was done consistently and reliably? Let me know and I’ll pass on the idea – you could get the app for free for your department/trust in return for helping develop it for others to buy. Things like making up complex drugs/mixtures, recording whats gone into an IV line spring to my mind. What can you think of?