Finding solutions for pandemic response: Matching end-user needs with solution-providers

The STAMINA project plays a critical role in developing a toolkit to equip stakeholders, like public health ministries, hospitals, and emergency first responders, to better deal with pandemic and crisis situations. This project was ahead of its time, it was already underway before the COVID-19 pandemic hit the world. However, the pandemic resurfaced the importance of tools like those that STAMINA is developing.

The main preoccupations of STAMINA are not only the development of tools, but also the testing and evaluation of those tools through twelve national trials and one cross-border trial. In doing so, the DRIVER+ Trial Guidance Methodology (TGM) was adapted to the project’s needs and culminated into the STADEM Methodology that is now provided to the trial owners.

How are Trial Integration Meetings (TIM) linked to tool development?

The aim of the Trial Guidance Methodology (TGM) is to provide a structured approach to evaluate the ways in which new solutions (i.e., tools or methods) are utilised within an organisational context. The development process is concerned not only with whether the tools work as intended, but also with whether the tools can improve current processes within a given organisational context. The TGM is also meant to provide insights into whether a solution adds value for the trial owner.

The TGM methodology starts with a very detailed and challenging ‘preparation phase’ where the trial set-up is planned. After this is finalised, the Execution Phase begins with the Trial Integration Meeting (TIM). The TIM is crucial as it ensures that the end-users and solution providers understand each other. This includes functionalities of the solutions, data needs, and connections within or between end-user systems, the trial story, and ways the solutions are going to be used within the trial. It is imperative that the trial objectives and evaluation criteria are clear for all participants. This is why the TIM is key to the process as it ensures end-users and solution providers are on the same page on what needs to be done next.

After the TIM, the trial committee and the solution providers make preparations for the first dry run. This is where the trial setup is tested at the planned locations. The evaluation of the dry run informs about identified issues within the trial course and solution functionalities. It is a requisite for these issues to be solved by the second dry run as it is the last dry run before the actual trial starts. It is therefore essential that the last dry run performs exactly as the trial is intended to ensure all issues are solved and no new ones are emerging. This execution phase ends with the trial itself and flows into the evaluation phase.

One of twelve national trials will take place in Austria within the patient and emergency transport of the Johanniter in Vienna. The organisation had already identified a gap, before the COVID-19 pandemic, about the back-tracing of potentially infected contact stations and persons within the organization. If a team member of the ambulance service is tested positive for COVID-19, their contacts with patients and other team members need to be identified to reduce the spread of the pathogen. To better cope with such super-spreading events, the identified gap shows that it is important that training capabilities are enhanced to suit the context.

Copyright – Johanniter/R. Olivares-Alba

The STAMINA project is critical in providing gainful solutions to close identified gaps and increase the performance of the organization. The Johanniter, therefore, selected four different tools from the STAMINA toolset, namely the common operational picture tool (COP-Tool), the pandemic preparedness training tool (PPT-Tool), the mobile PCR device, and the SmartKo wearable monitoring device. All four tools will be tested during the Austrian trial together based on a new standard operating procedure (SOP) in January 2022.

Johanniter COVID testing
Copyright – Johanniter/R. Olivares-Alba

Most recently, the TIM took place in Vienna on 6 October 2021 with twenty participants. A very important part of the meeting was to discuss the planned trial scenario and the next steps leading up to the trial, in close alignment with the trial methodology. The TIM was a very fruitful discussion about the integration requirements of each solution within the trial context. The TIM played a crucial role in providing a clear picture of the next steps and what needs to be done in preparation for the first dry run. The scenarios or use cases will mostly be conducted at the command center of the Johanniter in Vienna. There is a plan to collaborate with a hospital in Vienna to acquire the necessary materials and compare the mobile PCR device with the standard procedure.

We are eagerly anticipating the transition of the Austrian trial to the execution phase, starting with the first dry run in November 2021. The Austrian team is looking forward to witnessing the application of the STAMINA solutions within the ambulance service setting. To learn more and to receive updates about the Austrian trial, and the other eleven trials that will be taking place as part of the STAMINA project, follow us on social media or visit the project website.