Austin Health is moving its operations to the digital age by using Power Apps to create solutions that improve efficiency.
Based in Melbourne Austin Health Is one of Australia’s leading healthcare service providers. One of the city’s fastest growing regions, the organization employs 10,500 people and routinely handles the hospitalization of more than 110,000 patients each year.
To ensure efficiency and effectiveness, Austin Health is increasingly turning to digital solutions to support its employees and the wider community. Last year, the number of telemedicine consultations provided by Austin Health clinicians increased by 1100%. Austin Health also rolled out a 9500 license for Office 365 in two weeks to support new ways of working for all pandemic-ready employees.
Among them is a small team of Patient Service Assistants (PSAs) who navigate the hospital corridors to and from patients to different locations. Previously, PSA collected pieces of paper from the Central Secretariat to take on the job. This piece of paper told which patients needed to be taken when and where. When one patient was delivered, PSA returned and collected another piece of paper, another patient, and the entire process over and over again. According to Alan Pritchard, director of hospital EMR and ICT services, this was a tedious process with a prospect of improvement.
This challenge was especially acute when transporting patients to a radiology department, which was beginning to seek an alternative to digital systems for manual systems. They worked with LinkTech to develop a solution using Microsoft Teams. This was a step forward in sending the PSA to the hospital with a piece of paper, but it still had some limitations.
Power platform implementation
By mid-2020, Austin Health will Power platform The entire organization provided access to a low-code / no-code platform for application development, which the development team believed could be used to further streamline the way PSA works.
“The development team used Power Apps and SQL in Azure to do some exploratory internal proofs, and then reconfigured the proofs built on the Power Platform,” Pritchard explains. To do. The first prototype was ready in 3 days.
By adopting a platform approach to development, Pritchard states that it has become possible to develop applications with reusable components that are useful for other applications.
Used by Austin Health Power app Develop an app for nurses who were screening visitors during the pandemic. This allows lined up visitors to fill out a mobile form to enter the hospital, and nurses can use QR codes to check information, record temperature, and be hospitalized if healthy. It came to be.
While IT teams are developing these apps, Power Apps are also beginning to be used by a small number of clinician developers.
Staff Anesthesiologist Dr. Andrew Goldberg has developed an application that allows junior staff to contact senior staff during non-working hours when anesthesia care needs to be escalated due to emergency surgery. Telephone calls are the surest way to communicate with a senior clinician, but calls from the switchboard can be time consuming.
Dr. Goldberg used Power Apps to create an anesthesiology phone book. This phone book is published on the anesthesiology team site. This allows trainees to search for staff members in their department within the team and start a mobile phone call with anyone on the list.
“With limited coding knowledge, we were able to create a prototype that would work in a couple of days and provide the department with very useful communication resources for daily use,” said Dr. Goldberg. I am.
Elsewhere in the hospital, ultrasound engineer Michael Huynh digitized the logbook used to record the disinfection of ultrasound transducers.
“There are more than 50 transducers in the radiology department, which means we needed more than 50 logbooks, one for each transducer. This was a big problem. In the event of an infection control breach, the transducers It is very difficult and time consuming to track all the patients who have been used, “says Huynh.
“By deploying Microsoft 365 in our organization using Power Apps, we were able to quickly build an application that logs the transducer removal process and store all the data in a single SharePoint list. In the event of an infection control breach, simply filter the SharePoint list by the affected date, time, and transducer and transfer that list to infection control for easy tracking. “
According to Huynh, Power Apps’ low-code environment allows healthcare professionals to easily build the applications they need today and regain control without having to buy expensive software. Prior to this, Huynh stated that he had no coding knowledge.
“When I started experimenting with the tutorials, I quickly understood the coding I needed and now I’m starting to make more complex apps. Another big advantage of Power Apps is that I do most of it. It’s about being able to help and come to the IT department to do the finishing touches. “
The reusable nature of the Power Platform allows Austin Health to explore ways to create apps for other needs. For example, PSA’s Radiation Job Assignment app is likely to be adapted to be used to direct cleaning staff and could be extended to PSAs that work in emergencies.
“What does that mean for the organization?” Pritchard asked. “This allows us to quickly solve problems in many small areas. Then, on the other side of the scale, when we start moving to a slightly larger and more complex task, the same integration framework, the same design pattern, You can use the same support features to build your solution on one consistent platform, which requires extensive procurement exercises.
“One of the biggest costs in IT development is the time spent in the procurement process looking for applications to solve the problem. If you can solve the problem on your existing platform, you can move the business benefits forward. Time to develop a solution is important. “
Pritchard also mentions the governance promoted by Power Apps. Instead of buying shadow IT solutions to solve their needs, individual departments want to use Power Apps to tackle problems and build solutions while surrounded by the security and privacy controls provided by the Microsoft platform. The desire is growing.
“We are now providing them with tools and building something with the assets we already have in our environment. We are in a Microsoft tenant, which ensures security and governance,” Pritchard said. Says.
This powerful combination of flexibility and control enables Austin Health to develop innovative solutions to hospital-wide operational challenges in a safe and well-managed environment.
Creating apps drives innovation in Austin Health
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