29th Mar 2021
London’s Air Ambulance has teamed up with Intelogy, a Microsoft gold partner that specialises in helping companies and organisations embrace digital ways of working, to create and build an app that our advanced trauma teams are using day to day to assist with their life-saving work.
Our crew deal in life and death situations, helping patients in need of urgent emergency treatment when every second counts.
When an emergency call comes in, our advanced trauma teams must be ready to go – and so must their equipment. Ensuring our medics have the right kit is crucial, but difficult – they need access to everything required in an ICU unit to care for a critically injured trauma patient, plus their own safety gear to keep them safe while they work. Our teams are able to perform life-saving treatment, including open heart surgery, blood transfusions and anaesthesia, at the scene of an incident.
Until recently, the crew had been using paper, pens and whiteboards to create their kit checklists and keep track of all equipment. But doing this manually has led to a lot of duplication and effort. We required a digital solution that ensured checklists could be created and shared from mobile phones and tablets, giving all medics one view of their operation, wherever they were, at any time of day or night.
London’s Air Ambulance began working with Intelogy, who came up with the idea of attaching QR codes to every medical bag so that kit can be logged digitally and shared with staff. This ‘low code’ solution, Microsoft PowerApps, removes manual processes and duplications so that medics have one clear picture of equipment. Once the code is scanned by a device, the user can log all the equipment in the bag before it’s ready to go out again.
Dr Mike Christian, Research and Clinical Effectiveness Lead with London’s Air Ambulance said:
“We face a number of challenges in our work, certainly on the clinical side, taking care of patients and providing care at the roadside to critically injured patients is one challenge, but on a day-to-day basis we also face challenges on the helipad as we strive to be a highly reliable organisation.
“We have a number of checklists, which ensure we're meticulous in all of our preparations for taking care of patients. In the past, this has been all done manually, which has led to a lot of duplication and effort. Today, we're using the full Microsoft Office suite, including PowerApps to create those checklists. It’s a much better system that’s very easy to use.”
Two medics restock the equipment – one person will place the items in the car or helicopter, the other will check it off on the Power Platform app, which uses a set of toggles to easily identify what’s been packed and what still needs to be done. Previously, tasks were recorded in multiple places, which wastes time and can cause confusion among medics who want to restock bags or prepare them for the helicopter or car. This information can also now be easily shared with other charity staff or the helipad team, who can support the medics by ordering new equipment for them.
Mike continues: “When taking care of critically injured patients, we often talk about a concept called ‘situational awareness’ that’s the big picture of knowing what's happening around you and your team. That applies during an emergency, but it also applies to our equipment, too. Knowing what equipment is in what location at any time is essential for us to run our operation.
“When it comes to the potential of what this technology can do for us, the sky’s the limit”.
The video below shows how our teams are using Microsoft PowerApps and hears from those involved in the creation of the app.