Rapid development of Power Apps for the HSE

Improving operational effectiveness in HSE hospitals using live data

What was the issue

Improved bed utilisation ultimately means patients can get the treatment they need faster. With a lack of live data evidencing low occupancy, operational staff at Community Health Organisations across the Health Sector Executive (HSE) struggled to make daily decisions on patient movements.

Monthly data collation had become a chore, and when the compiled reports eventually got back to staff, it was out of date. Incohesive information delivered via email or excel caused frustration and reduced confidence in the quality of the data and reporting. A key challenge was to restore confidence in the benefits of technology and allow staff to do what they do best.

What we did

What was quickly established is that the hospitals required more support and effective lines of communication between staff and care providers. This led to the idea of a Bed App. A key principle of the app was to deliver an easy-to-use application that staff and care providers could easily adopt.

By using a personal and agile approach, 4OC’s digital team were able to get to the core of HSE’s bed utilisation. Staff were heavily engaged in the evolution of the functionality of the app and were supported by our experts in intuitive interface and usability design. Having run through several iterations, we got to an agreed design and the final version of the app was built.

Next, a training program was put in place and secure cloud-based access was granted. This allowed staff to use the platform from desktops, laptops or phones, saving valuable time and resources. Various cases were tested, and adoption rates were monitored. We embedded follow-ups into the plan to capture user insights, which would enable rapid development of additional functionality and iterative developments for reporting, if required.

What was the result

The app has proved very popular, and with word-of-mouth driving demand, it is now being rolled out across more locations. With data readily available from anywhere, leaders can access any number of Power BI Reports on any device. With fresh data being entered into the app daily, staff can now get an up-to-date bed position at the touch of a button. ​This information can then be shared with general hospitals who are able to direct patients to the hospitals that have increased bed availability, with the solution tracking an increase of in bed occupancy from 62.5% to 83.1% over a three-month period.

In the most recent update, the app is now being utilised in around 80 hospitals across four regions, tracking daily usage of more than 1,000 community hospital beds. The app also reports into acute hospitals to improve patient flow across the system. More than 100 staff have been trained on using the app. Given the usefulness of the app and the rapid uptake by HSE staff, the HSE has requested additional features be added. The new features facilitate a call to action, with activities and progress monitored, and accountability established.

Oh and in some FANTASTIC news, the work on this app has won a top award within the HSE. It picked up the ‘Engaging a Digital Solution to provide a Better Service’ award in the HSE’s Health Service Excellence awards. Yay!

What they said...

“The agile and personal approach the 4OC team took to understanding, assessing, and developing a solution to bed utilisation data made the whole experience stress-free for us. We have ended up with an easy-to-use app that saves our staff precious time, which can be redirected to caring for our patients.”

Aislinn Gannon, General Manager Digital Health, HSE CHO1