The COVID-19 pandemic has put an unprecedented strain on the healthcare system. The MyDignio app allows healthcare providers to concentrate efforts on where they are needed the most.
“Our tools for case tracing were built with tuberculosis in mind, which has a slow transmission rate. When the Covid-19 pandemic hit, we struggled to keep track of all potential cases and patients in isolation,” says Miert Skjoldborg Lindboe – a GP in Nordstrand, Oslo.
Nordstrand, on of the biggest boroughs in Oslo, was the epicentre for many early Covid-19 clusters in Norway. Lindboe and his team found themselves under-equipped to deal with the sudden influx of patients going into quarantine. “To keep track of patient conditions and who we needed priority medical attention, we had to call them every day. We relied on using paper documents and spreadsheets to get an understanding of how the pandemic was developing day-by-day. This was a huge drain on precious time and resources,” he says.
“Assessing symptoms over the phone is also notoriously imprecise, especially when your staff haven’t had the required training. As a result, many false positives and a few false negatives were diagnosed. We also ended up spending time and resources on patients that didn’t require it and, in some cases, those who did were regrettably neglected.”
To help an overwhelmed healthcare system, the municipality of Oslo turned to Dignio’s Connected Care solution for tracking Covid-19 cases. It’s a tool that allows patients in isolation to report on their symptoms from the safety of their homes. Nordstrand was the first borough to test it, now all the boroughs in Norway’s largest city are using the system.
It works by patients filling out a short questionnaire in the MyDignio app, designed to identify Covid-19 symptoms. Based on their responses, Lindboe’s team receive notifications through a colour-coded system. A green alert signifies that no further actions are required at present, a yellow alert warrants a more detailed medical follow up and a red alert means immediate medical attention is needed. Healthcare personnel can also communicate directly with the patients through in-app chats or video calls.
“The app helps us easily channel resources to those who need them. We estimate that of all the people in Covid-19 quarantine, only around a fifth exhibit symptoms that require a follow-up. If you take a sample of one thousand patients, about eight-hundred people will not need resources spent on them” Lindboe explains.
Improving patient safety
The genius of the app, says Lindboe, is that it condenses complex diagnostic tools into a simple questionnaire. “The users only have to answer fairly simple questions, so their responses are easy for us to review and properly respond to. It improves patient safety and offers a far better overview of how our patients are doing.”
Following initial success in Nordstrand, other healthcare providers in Norway and overseas have adopted the Dignio Connected Care solution as part of their COVID-19 response strategy. In the UK, it has been used by Mastercall in the greater Manchester area, and in in Dudley, on the outskirts of Birmingham.
Dr Jonathan Darby, a Dudley GP, agrees with Lindboe’s assessment. “The beauty of this system is that first and foremost, patients feel safe at home. They know they are being carefully assessed for any sign of change in their condition. Secondly, clinicians know they will be able to act quickly if a patient’s condition worsens”, Darby told Black Country Radio, in Dudley.
“The beauty of this system is that first and foremost, patients feel safe at home.”
Rapid response and implementation
Norway began lockdown procedures in mid-March. By early April, the first iteration of our Covid-19 solution was in use in Nordstrand.
Mads Jonassen, nurse and a member of Dignio’s customer success team, explains that Dignio’s Connected Care solution (the MyDignio app and the Dignio Prevent software), was originally built as a remote care platform for sufferers of chronic diseases. “It was mainly used by patients with conditions like diabetes and heart disease to monitor and report their symptoms from home”.
“When the pandemic hit, we realised that these solutions contained a lot of functionality that could be useful for monitoring patients in Covid-19 isolation as well. We began work on building a version that allowed healthcare personnel keep track of thousands of potential COVID-19 cases at the same time.”
He explains that the key challenge was to reframe the diagnostics to a format that was easy for everybody to understand.
“We worked with specialists in medicine and infectious diseases, as well as major health authorities when developing the questionnaire. We arrived at a final format that was simple in design, and could give an accurate estimate of which patients required follow-up.”
The MyDignio app also allows patients to record their pulse, temperature, and oxygen levels through Bluetooth-enabled medical devices if advised to by healthcare providers.
“It was important to determine the minimum number of elements needed to provide reliable symptom tracking. Given the quantity of potential patients using it, a simple and streamlined solution was imperative”.”
“We’ve created a comprehensive and concise training package, making it possible able to begin using the solution within a single day. Representatives from Dignio’s Customer team will also be available to help with any issues arising during the startup-phase.”
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At a glance: the Dignio Connected Care platform
- Telemedicine: The platform comes with secure video and chat functions.
- Remote Patient Monitoring: The platform contains a wide range of measurements covering vital signs, blood glucose, weight, spirometry, hemoglobin, sleep, activity level, and NEWS2 score.
- Medication Compliance: Dignio offers medication dispensers for both manually loaded and multidose dispensers. This makes sure that patients take the right medicine at the right time.
- Self-reporting: Dignio offers clinically validated forms and questionnaires, and standard forms that are customisable to each patient. Data can also be exported for further analysis.
- Self-management: Dignio offers dynamic treatment plans that can be tailored to each patient’s condition. The plan is readily available for the patient to access via phone or tablet.
- Home Lab: A wide range of test equipment is integrated into the software. For example, tests like white blood cells (WBC – diff), C-Reactive Protein (CRP), GFR-Renal filtration rate and long time blood glucose (HbA1c).