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Pulse+IT: Western Health live with myBeepr to rule out WhatsApp use

Written by Pulse+IT on 10 June 2021.

Western Health in Melbourne has become Victoria’s first healthcare organisation to implement myBeepr. Western Health chose myBeepr as its preferred communication solution following a limited review of the market and facilitating competitive selection process with the platform implemented across all four hospital sites as part of a big-bang implementation in February of this year.

myBeepr is a clinical collaboration platform that allows staff to create individual and group chats, conduct role-based messaging, manage tasks, and transmit secure clinical photos. It is now being used by >1,200 staff at Western Health with a >95% user uptake within the first eight weeks, with >1,000,000 messages read and hundreds of photos being shared weekly.

The mobile application was developed by colorectal surgeon Vikram Balakrishnan and entrepreneurs Kruti Balakrishnan and Krupa Bhagani in 2016 to improve communication between healthcare professionals.

The Chief Medical Officer at Western Health, Dr Paul Eleftheriou, said that there was a clear need for secure messaging and clinical photography solution.

“Before myBeepr staff were using desk phones and LAN-pagers which are both less efficient and effective. We performed a study regarding this and found that staff spend 20% of their time chasing people up. That equates to a number of hours lost per day and that is expensive,” he said.

The Deputy Chief Medical Officer at Western Health, Dr Birinder Giddey, said that communication and collaboration underpin everything that a clinician does.

“The reason we selected myBeepr was because it met all our requirements. myBeepr had features that exceeded the applications that were already being used, including the ability to search a live hospital directory as well as accurately tag photos with patient details.”

Governance and Risk

Dr Vikram Balakrishnan, CEO of myBeepr, said that 95% of Australian doctors are heavily reliant on non-secure messaging platforms such as WhatsApp to communicate. “Consumer messaging apps like WhatsApp have become embedded within healthcare organisations as time-poor doctors resort to quick and easy ways to collaborate around patient care.”

Dr Paul Eleftheriou said that social media platforms are not appropriate for use in transmitting sensitive patient health information, including clinical photos. “Privacy, security and compliance are important and there are various legal principles that need to be adhered to”, he said.

Dr Graeme Maguire, the head of unit of general medicine across Western Health, agreed. “I don’t think my clinical colleagues appreciated the risk we were taking using existing social media platforms”, he said.

Following the implementation of myBeepr across Western Health, there has been a 90% reduction in the use of non-appropriate messaging platforms such as WhatsApp and SMS.

We expect myBeepr to reduce data breaches and eventually replace the LAN-paging system for non-urgent communication, said Dr Paul Eleftheriou. “It is great that we now have a secure encrypted platform that the organisation has endorsed,” he said.

Aside from messaging, myBeepr provides a secure method for staff to capture and transmit clinical photos using their personal smartphone cameras. All photos on myBeepr can be accurately tagged with patient information and are appropriately encrypted and stored. None of the photos are accessible via the phone gallery. Staff at Western Health send over 700 secure clinical images weekly.

Dr Brendan Dias, the Urology fellow at Western Health, said that myBeepr’s clinical photography was one of the most important features in regards to productivity and patient care.

“This really sets myBeepr apart from other platforms we have been using. The ability to tag photos with patient details and document informed consent was especially important,” he said.

New Rostering and On-Call feature

Western Health spans across four major sites in the fastest growing corridor in terms of population in Victoria. Dr Ann Boo, one of the project leads from Western Health, said clinical collaboration within and across sites was important.

“We needed a platform that would enable staff to allocate themselves to the particular hospital they were covering, but at the same time, allowed staff to communicate across hospitals,” she said.

myBeepr developed an update to the rostering feature that allows doctors to set which site or sites they are covering.

“I needed a solution that allows me to communicate across all hospitals,” said Dr Graeme Maguire.

“As a head of unit who manages 80 senior and junior medical staff, I need to be able to communicate with them efficiently.

With myBeepr, I can now deal with issues relating to patient risk, patient flow through the hospital and patient discharges rapidly.”

Kruti Balakrishnan said that myBeepr created an on-call banner feature that lets everyone in the organisation know who is on-call for each department. “Staff can now filter the live organisation directory based on the specialty being covered, hospital site or on-call,” she said.

Dr Brendan Dias said that the on-call feature is a very useful feature of the app. "We use the on-call feature to look-up and communicate with the on-call registrars from various teams to provide better multidisciplinary care. This becomes particularly necessary with teams such as Obstetrics and Gynaecology, as often the hospital switchboard themselves wouldn't know who is on-call for these large teams. mybeepr has provided better visibility and easier access to the on-call person."

Next steps

Kruti Balakrishnan said that phase two of the myBeepr implementation will involve the nursing and allied health staff. “There are a number of unique clinical workflows and use cases that we need to considered before introducing nursing and allied health staff onto the platform”, she said. “Organisation-wide secure messaging is not a solution you can simply throw over the fence, you need to provide guidance to the staff on how best to utilise it.

Pulse+IT covered and summarised the launch in the article linked below.

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