Ambulance Victoria deployed a data solution Telstra helped deliver in 2014 to gain better visibility on bed capacity in hospitals across the state. This solution enabled Ambulance Victoria and its service Adult Retrieval Victoria (ARV) to connect patients in ambulances with the right hospitals for the care they need faster and more efficiently. It also freed ARV’s clinical coordinators and retrieval specialists - who handle around 4,000 cases annually with 150 hospitals across the state - from the time and effort required to manually perform individual hospital surveys for bed capacity.
“The old system we were using provided no real-time functionality. Frontline workers did not have a clear overview of an open patient case and data was potentially out-of-date, as the system needed to be manually refreshed after new information was added”
Jason McClure, Director, Adult Retrieval Victoria
As the COVID-19 pandemic started to surge around Australia, Ambulance Victoria needed more than data on bed capacity - they needed to be able to track and monitor the number of ICU beds, ventilators and other equipment, patient status, and personal protection equipment (PPE) available. The early investment in technology presented an opportunity for Ambulance Victoria to meet new challenges by building on the original solution and explore the latest technology to fill in the gaps.
If successful, the new solution had the potential to help provide early intervention for and save more lives not only in Victoria but across the country.
Telstra Purple built the Retrieval and Critical Health (REACH) Information System to help make connecting a patient with a hospital for the right level of care a simple and effective process. The platform is a real-time, web-based bed occupancy reporting tool that provides a state-wide and hospital-level view of critical care and incident-specific bed capacity.
The system had to be built with the user at the centre, so Telstra Purple worked closely with Ambulance Victoria, as well as doctors, nurses, ambulance officers, and other frontline workers to build a real-time dashboard that addressed their needs – with the upmost care taken to design for optimal usability.
As COVID-19 surged nationally, the Australian Government sought healthcare solutions to help monitor the situation and manage patients and resources more effectively. The Australian and New Zealand Intensive Care Society (ANZICS), with support from the Federal Government, eventually chose the REACH platform as the best existing platform that could be redeveloped to meet the urgent need for a reliable solution. ANZICS, Ambulance Victoria, and Telstra Purple worked together to utilise the REACH platform’s IP and expand it to capture additional data required for a more effective COVID-19 response.
The solution was required to provide a national view of critical equipment for intensive care, including PPE, available hospital beds, and the number of ventilators for critical and non-critical use.
“Having a dedicated tracking system means we can strategically analyse and plan for the likely impacts of a disaster event, helping frontline workers efficiently distribute acute and critical patients to the right hospital with the right resources”
Jason McClure, Director, Adult Retrieval Victoria
With REACH originally built on-premises, scaling the solution required an agile, cost-effective platform for the necessary application migration and modernisation - Microsoft Azure was selected for its security and compliance features, supported by its Canberra-based datacentre.
As part of the process we:
Ran an assessment of the on-premises solution REACH.
Undertook a series of refactoring to clean up the code, ensuring not to break any of the original application’s critical integration points.
Revised the data structure to allow for multi-tenancy use
Implemented the appropriate security access controls to address the different access levels such as federal, state and hospital users Telstra Purple used the power of Microsoft Azure platform including the following services:
- Azure DevOps for build and deployment
- Azure App Services with staging slot for production
- Azure SQL Server managed instances
- Azure KeyVault
- Azure Front Door to secure the application
- Azure Storage
- Azure Monitor
- Azure Application Insights
- Canberra-based Government datacentre to adhere to government compliance
Within just seven days, Telstra Purple was able to scale out the REACH platform, leading to the launch of the new Critical Health Resource Information System (CHRIS). The result is a cloud-native application on Microsoft Azure, built entirely from PaaS offerings to power the engine behind the application and support the demand for Australia and New Zealand.
CHRIS enables health services, the Department of Health, and all related third parties in Australia and New Zealand to record and track suspected and confirmed COVID-19 patients in real-time. Having a view of where patients are and where they are being transported helps all involved parties to be adequately prepared while keeping everyone safe.
Through the expansion of this service, CHRIS now provides visibility of public and private intensive care resources across the country as well as managing surges in demand ahead of time.
Telstra Purple launched the CHRIS solution within 7 days.
In under two weeks 191 hospitals were using the CHRIS solution.
8 Microsoft Azure platform services were used to build the solution.