Protecting care homes from COVID-19

At the start of the coronavirus outbreak, health authorities in British Columbia, Canada moved swiftly to draw up legislation aimed at restricting the movement of long-term care home workers to a single site, to protect staff and vulnerable patients from infection.

To help frame the new laws, they tasked Appnovation, a global full-service digital consultancy, with mapping the existing movement of staff across care homes and how this needed to change, to minimise the risk of transmission.

Smart cloud computing architecture and real-time analytics designed by Appnovation mapped staff movements and deflected pinch points in rota systems as health officials battled to avoid virus transmission while ensuring safe staffing levels.

The agile digital solution used real-time data collection and analysis to make the best use of  resources and maintain high levels of care.

The project helped to drastically reduce the virus spread across care homes, protecting residents and workers, including nurses, administrators and support staff, who have been among the most exposed and at-risk groups during the pandemic.

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“We were able to identify areas of staffing need ahead of problems arising so decision-makers could react quickly and be well resourced,” says Andrew Dunbar, Appnovation’s general manager, Europe, Middle East and Africa. “It illustrates the potential of using data and integrated systems in
a healthcare setting.”

Appnovation prides itself on collaborating with clients to achieve clear and measurable results. Its hallmark is identifying the core business need and then designing innovative, human-centred systems that deliver measurable change.

“We were founded on the promise of designing and developing digital solutions to help healthcare organisations and companies across a wide range of different sectors, accelerate progress and become more effective in improving people’s lives,” says Dunbar. “We believe in that promise. We want to build solutions that have a genuinely positive impact on the world.”

Appnovation deployed cloud architecture and analysed encrypted staff data within days as it collaborated with the Canadian province’s health departments. They devised a system that was easy for staff to use and quickly drove positive results across a challenging landscape.

“We bring a wealth of cross-industry experience that helps our healthcare partners make the most of technology,” says Dunbar. “We are always looking for ways to drive value for organisations.”

Appnovation, which has its European HQ in London, has also worked with Hammersmith and Fulham Council to develop an easy-to-use digital healthy lifestyle service, providing residents with personalised recommendations and free tools for managing their health.

“We have an ageing population that needs increasing levels of care from a system that’s under pressure to deliver greater efficiencies. We need to ask what we can do with automation, machine learning and mobile devices to solve that,” he says.

Appnovation has established trusted techniques to ensure its technology is designed to integrate with legacy systems, as well as multiple stakeholders, and can function across diverse settings such as schools, care homes, education institutions and prisons, which have multiple sites and workforces.

“We understand how people interact with technology and how to design systems that are intuitive and quick to use. They get the best from people and resources rather than adding extra bureaucracy,” says Dunbar.

Appnovation has been asked to replicate its digital solution by other Canadian provinces and is exploring other routes to improve hospital and healthcare system performance over a range of staff and resource sectors.

Its systems and ethos are closely aligned with the growing demand for digital engagement from the public who are keen to use technology to drive improvements in their health, lifestyle and work experiences.

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