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Pulse+IT: St George Hospital rolls out myBeepr for clinical collaboration

Written by Pulse+IT on 30 March 2021.

Sydney’s St George Hospital has gone live with the myBeepr clinical communication platform, which 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 850 medical staff since being implemented in February with more than 23,000 messages sent and 700 clinical images 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.

Dr Balakrishnan, myBeepr’s CEO, said research his team had conducted in 2016 showed the vast majority of doctors were using smartphones at work and almost 85 per cent were using WhatsApp to communicate.

The platform was developed for the Australian healthcare sector as a customised clinical collaboration platform. In addition to chat, messaging, task management and clinical photo capability, it also allows staff to access a live hospital roster to see who is on call.

It has been integrated into eHealth NSW's state-wide active directory, ensuring access and authentication for all staff at the hospital.

The director of medical services at St George Hospital, Heidi Boss, said the potential in myBeepr was that it combined all of the best elements of a communication solution in a secure and privacy-compliant platform.

“We were intent on helping our clinicians by making it easy to find who they wanted to communicate with, to improve their efficiency overall,” Dr Boss said.

“What also made the introduction of myBeepr so seamless was that it is so easy to use and it didn't take a lot of instruction. It is quite intuitive.”

As part of the implementation, a working group was set up at St George Hospital to develop a customised clinical workflow and use case document that provided all staff with guidelines on how myBeepr should and should not be used.

“It was very important from a governance perspective that a clinical collaboration platform was introduced with clear guidelines for all staff,” Dr Boss said.

On-call rostering and group chat

One of myBeepr’s features is access to a live roster or on-call schedule, Dr Balakrishnan said. “myBeepr’s live directory provides instantaneous visibility to which staff member in the organisation is covering which department, hospital site and specialty,” he said.

“Furthermore, staff can see who is on-call for each department and they can avoid having to call switchboard or access a desktop roster.”

Senior resident and working group JMO Rebecca Everist said the app allows doctors to access anyone in the hospital. “You’re not limited to your personal contact list,” she said.

It also has a group chat function that allows staff to create customised care team groups and communicate regarding patient care. Staff at St George Hospital have created more than 120 care team groups since myBeepr’s implementation.

Dr Balakrishnan said a prospective study at St George showed that myBeepr reduced the time to close the communication loop from 27 minutes to just 4 minutes and 30 seconds, compared to traditional communication technologies previously used by the organisation. South Eastern Sydney Local Health District (SESLHD) chief medical information officer Winston Liauw said one of the benefits of myBeepr was the ability to communicate something important to your whole team.

“It's very often the case that you need to let everybody know what's going on and if there's a task to be done,” Associate Professor Liauw said. “In healthcare, we all work in teams. We need to communicate and collaborate in a timely and reliable way. It is mission critical to doing the work.”

Pager replacement

myBeepr has partially replaced the LAN-paging system at St George Hospital for non-urgent communication. Staff use myBeepr on their personal smartphones, which means less reliance on two separate devices.

Dr Balakrishnan said LAN-paging devices were generally considered reliable but also highly inefficient and were associated with poor satisfaction. “The biggest problem was that there was no easy way to see who has sent the message and no easy way to respond to a message,” he said.

Using myBeepr’s live directory and secure messaging platform, staff have now become less reliant on the LAN-paging system, he said. myBeepr informs the sender if a message has been read, and the recipient can instantly reply to a message.

A/Prof Liauw said pagers were a known problem. “Having a secure messaging system that has a contact list linked to a live directory is a lot more efficient than calling switchboard or looking up rosters or contact lists,” he said.

Oliver Charlton, a resident and working group JMO, said that more often than not, “knowing that the recipient has read your message is all you need to know that things are running smoothly”.

Clinical Photography

Krupa Bhagani, myBeepr’s COO, said secure clinical photography has been one of the most popular features of the new platform.

“Clinical photography is a big problem for all doctors in Australia,” she said. “There are strict guidelines that need to be followed when taking patient-related photos, including tagging the photo with the date and time, four points of identification of the patient, and documenting consent.

“Furthermore, the data needs to be encrypted and not accessible by third parties.”

Dr Charlton said St George staff were using the clinical photography feature on a daily basis. “I can share an image of a patient and tag it with relevant details in a chat, which saves senior staff from having to also see that patient because they get all the information through the clinical photo shared,” he said.

Ms Bhagani said the next phase in myBeepr’s implementation will be to integrate it into the hospital’s EMR, which will allow clinical photos to be automatically uploaded into the patients’ medical record.

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

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