Contributed by Helena Blažun Vošner, Jernej Završnik, Peter Kokol, Aleksander Jus, Štefan Mally, Nataša Maguša Lorber, Tine Pelcl, Community Healthcare Center dr. Adolf Drolc Maribor (HCM), Slovenia
The STAMINA Project partner, Community Healthcare Center dr. Adolf Drolc Maribor (HCM) from Slovenia, contributes to the project from the position of an end-user, playing a crucial role as a demonstrator of trial scenarios. HCM tests and demonstrates intelligent decision support for pandemic prediction and management developed by the STAMINA consortium.
SIMULATION PROTOCOL FOR STAMINA TOOL TESTING
By conducting a study and deciding on targeted tools, HCM developed a simulation protocol to perform a clinical trial to manage the treatment of a COVID-19 suspect patient. To conduct a clinical trial, HCM defined the simulation protocol as follows:
The dispatch centre receives a call from the vicinity of Maribor (e.g. Lenart, Zlatoličje) that an elderly person has difficulty breathing, or feels weak, the dispatch centre enters the patient information (using the STAMINA tool COP) and the dispatch centre sends an ambulance with a resuscitator (with the ambulance holding a doctor, graduate nurse and a paramedic)
- Bring a COVID-19 suspect patient to the nearest hospital.
- Once the patient is brought in, the following questions will need to be addressed: by assessing the health status of a patient, whether the patient will require hospitalization and/or whether a hospital bed needs to be allocated.
Dispatch centre dilemmas:
- Will the medical team treating the patient require a doctor to be on standby?
- What is the nearest medical institution that suits the needs of the patient?
- What are the best ways to deploy rescue teams (e.g. if they decide to send a rescue team from Ptuj to transfer teams to Izola, Ptuj will not have access to any rescue team with a standby doctor)
SOLUTIONS AFFORDED BY STAMINA TOOLS
Through a review of STAMINA tools, HCM managed to anticipate solutions to this simulation protocol in the following ways:
- When the medical team attends to the patient, a doctor performs a clinical examination (including blood oxygen saturation, blood pressure, pulse, ECG, blood sugar, etc.) to determine the patient’s condition, checks the patient’s vital signs with STAMINA’s smartwatch SmarKO, which is linked to the application.
- On the way to the hospital, the doctor conducts a rapid PCR test or rapid antigen test (HAgT) to test for a SARS-CoV-2 infection.
- Patient health data is entered into the STAMINA tool COP, which is connected to the STAMINA tool ENGAGE, whose function is to communicate services available to treat patients including free bed capacity, the availability of medical staff, and stock of personal protective equipment (PPE).
- When the patient’s health data is in the application, it is simultaneously transferred to the dispatch centre, which directs the field team to the nearest free hospital with free bed capacity, free staff capacity and sufficient personal protected equipment.
Thus, the STAMINA tools ease the process by providing real-time data updates to both the medical team on the ground and the dispatch centre to be able to make quick decisions in critical situations.
GAPS ADDRESSED BY STAMINA TOOLS
Based on the simulation protocol, the STAMINA tools have mitigated the following problems often faced by end-users like HCM:
- Insufficient IT support to receive real-time updates on hospital service/ equipment availability (number of hospital beds, human resources, material, personal protective equipment etc.)
- Lack of rapid PCR testing conducted in ambulances
- A shortfall in knowledge, experience and information about efficient disinfection for ambulance preservation to ensure long-term use.
THINKING BEYOND BORDERS – CROSS-BORDER PANDEMIC INTEGRATION
Since HCM’s location in Slovenia is positioned close to the Austrian border, HCM is devising ways to contribute to faster and more successful cross-border pandemic integration by finding solutions with STAMINA partners for the following:
– Linking PCR swab data and digital certificates of morbidity for migrant workers
– Monitoring the availability of hospital services, equipment and vehicles for secondary or interhospital transport between countries
– Obtaining data on the number of positive ones, because the border regions, ie. Maribor and Graz, are connected with daily migrants, which means the possibility of transmitting infections from one region to another
Through the EU Horizon 2020-funded STAMINA Project tools, partners like HCM have seen improvement and increased their capacity to provide quality patient care with ease. The project continues to strive to make these tools accessible and available to improve pandemic management in the near future.