Chief Physician Jouni Kurola: “If communication is not working efficiently, patients may be left without immediate care”.
The critical communications system developed by the Finnish Growth Company 2020, Secapp, ensures that information flows quickly and accurately at the Finnish Kuopio University Hospital (KUH). It also saves a significant amount of working time compared to the old SMS system.
Dozens, even hundreds of alerts a day. The backbone of smooth and reliable communication when large-scale accidents occur. At Kuopio University Hospital, things are hectic every day of the year as it provides tertiary care for approximately 800,000 people in Eastern and Central Finland.
The hospital made a significant decision in 2017 to adopt Secapp’s critical communications system, one of the towering achievements of Finnish applications development.
Secapp has saved a significant amount of working time by replacing the slow SMS and phone call operations. In addition to daily use, the system has proven its accountability and effectiveness in large-scale accidents that have unfortunately occurred in the Kuopio area in recent years. These accidents include a bus crash in 2018 and a stabbing attack at Savo Vocational College the following year.
Secapp met KUH’s requirements
According to Jouni Kurola, Director of Acute Services and Chief Physician, Prehospital Emergency Care, at Kuopio University Hospital, it was already clear during the acquisition phase of the new system, Secapp, that the hospital wants to be a pioneer and keep an open mind when searching the market for a solution utilizing modern digitalization and new functionalities.
“We wanted to modernise our operations with a communication solution that would be more than just a one-way alert system, and that would offer comprehensive options for modern communication. We replaced our traditional SMS system with Secapp, which we now use in everyday situations such as dispatching, and for sending alerts about incidents”, says Kurola.
Instant and robust communication in a critical role in the Kuopio bus accident and school attack
Fast and precise action in the event of large-scale accidents and other serious incidents is becoming increasingly important in every area, including communication and management. Examples of such situations are the bus accident in Kuopio in 2018 in which four people died and 17 were injured, and a stabbing attack at Savo Vocational College in 2019 in which one person died and ten got injured.
“We used the Secapp system in dealing with both of these large-scale accidents to alert personnel to the scene. There was also a need for immediate communication and for keeping each unit up to date on the situation, such as prehospital care, emergency services and surgical units”, says Kurola.
“The act of violence at the vocational college involved authorities from several different agencies, and particularly the police and social emergency service were under a lot of pressure. In situations like these, there is also the risk that patients are left without immediate care due to inadequate communication. Another matter that should be noted is the long-lasting effect, as the situation impacted the social emergency service for long after the incident itself. It was a very exceptional situation for crisis work,” points out Kurola.
Saving working time through paging
With the aid of Secapp’s dispatching feature, KUH can reach its personnel quickly during shift changes or when more human resources are needed.
“Secapp’s dispatching feature makes work easier for supervisors and shift managers. In the past, the head nurses working in prehospital care and emergency services used text messages or even phone calls about shift changes and shift filling, which was really slow. Nowadays, we can do all that in two directions with a single system, which makes communication more accurate and agile. We are very pleased with this solution and have also taken a great leap forward in our operations,” says Kurola.
Regular use of Secapp maintains skills both in everyday work and unexpected situations
KUH uses Secapp for daily work as well as for dealing with incidents.
“We use Secapp regularly, which is a strength because it keeps users’ skills up to date at all times. When people know how to use the application in their everyday work, it’s also much easier for them to take charge during demanding incidents and unexpected situations as opposed to just using the program during incidents”, stresses Kurola.
Secapp provides multiple options for both shift changes and critical processes.
“Even just in the case of shift changes and overtime dispatching, we use it dozens if not hundreds of times a day. Secapp messages are sent from various units, and especially the intensive care and surgical unit, prehospital care and the entire emergency service area use the system heavily for this purpose”, says Kurola.
“With Secapp’s alerting and messaging features we have also tools to be prepared for various incidents and large-scale accidents. These kind of incidents can be, for example, IT system and power supply failures, storm damages or large-scale accidents. In addition, even our everyday work also involves critical processes, such as the admission of a severely injured patient for emergency care. Such cases involve professionals from many different groups, and fast alerting is essential.”
The use of Secapp is extending at Kuopio University Hospital
KUH is standardising the use of Secapp groups and the people in charge of the application in accordance with its line organisation. The line organisation, encompassing the entire hospital, includes 25 centres of excellence with a total of over a hundred units operating under them.
“So far we have maintained the groups and kept them up to date in a centralised manner, but now the aim is to adapt a line organisation-based system. The reason for decentralisation is that in the event of incidents and large-scale accidents, planning, alerting, situational awareness and provision of information should be based on everyday practices as far as possible. All our units already employ people who are, in the course of their everyday work, in charge of reporting on other activities, as well, so it’s only natural that they are the first ones to receive a Secapp alert informing them of what has happened or tasks that need to be carried out. At the same time, we are extending the use of the application so that we can effectively reach key people throughout the hospital in all situations”, concludes Kurola.