Kent & Medway CCG develops digital solution to manage COVID-19 impact

Digital dashboard consolidates information on the management of coronavirus in seven local hospitals

SHREWD COVID-19 has been devised to give hospitals across geographical areas information on capacity, including available PPE, ICU beds, and staff

The COVID-19 NHS response team at Kent and Medway Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is now able to instantly check the availability of staff, beds and crucial equipment used to care for patients with coronavirus after launching a digital solution that was created and implemented in just seven days.

SHREWD COVID-19 shows, in real time, key information about bed availability at all seven main hospitals in the area. That includes how many beds are available from which oxygen can be given and the number of unoccupied intensive care beds.

The system also provides daily updates on supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE) at all the hospital sites.

This means a hospital with a lot of one particular item can easily be identified and asked to share supplies with one which has less.

Details of how many staff are off sick with COVID-19 in each hospital, meanwhile, can be used to support decisions about how best to redirect staff and patients in the event of high levels of absence on a particular site.

Each part of England has an Incident Control Centre through which the local NHS decides how best to manage coronavirus cases across their area. But, because different hospitals are often run by different organisations, it can be very difficult for these leaders to quickly see where appropriate beds are available for patients and where there is spare PPE.

But hospitals in Kent and Medway can see this data on the online dashboard, with managers able filter the data for particular pieces of information.

The system can also display the data as a heat map, allowing for even speedier identification of any areas with more-limited capacity.

Stuart Jeffery, tactical commander for Kent and Medway’s NHS Incident Control Centre, said the tool was vital to effectively managing the peak of cases locally.

“If you’re sitting in East Kent, being able to know how things are in Dartford, Medway and Tunbridge Wells is really useful,” he said.

“Being able to see, in real time, how many ventilator beds are being used on each site, and the levels of staff absence, gives us an essential picture of the pressures in different parts of our local system. It allows us to work with all our hospitals in a co-ordinated way that helps both patients and hospital staff.”

Information on PPE was particularly crucial at the height of the first peak of the pandemic.

“Having sight of where the PPE was in the county was essential to getting us through,” said Jeffery.

“Mutual aid transfers of equipment between hospitals were happening regularly. The Incident Control Centre was using the dashboard to help identify those supplies so that transfers could happen.”

The software has also been used to build surge and escalation plans for the local area to ensure the NHS in Kent and Medway is well prepared to deal with any further waves of coronavirus.

The dashboard was created and implemented within just seven days and is provided by Transforming Systems, working in partnership with those in local health and care systems.

Lisa Riley, the company’s strategy and partnership director, said: “COVID-19 has been an exceptional challenge for our NHS colleagues, and it’s likely to continue to be in the coming weeks and months.

“We are really pleased to have been able to support the effective management of coronavirus patients with SHREWD COVID-19.”

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