Digital survey tools offer promise for the early identification and isolation of patients entering into healthcare facilities with highly infectious diseases.
FREMONT, CA: The capacity to develop, evaluate, manufacture, and administer effective medical countermeasures is inadequate to meet the burden of recurrent and emerging outbreaks of infectious diseases. When such interventions are unavailable, public health measures and supportive clinical care remain the only tools to slow an emerging outbreak. The use of innovative technologies can significantly improve decision-making under these circumstances. Read on to know more.
Rapid identification and isolation of patients with infectious diseases is essential in healthcare settings today. The digital tools are a practical option due to their ease of use and remote monitoring capabilities. A screening tool using a free and publicly available digital survey application to find patients at risk is very useful. The tool can be administered by healthcare personnel to patients near healthcare facility entrances, and it asks questions about symptoms, vaccination history, exposure history, and residence in high-risk locations. Any risk can be immediately informed to the clinical staff to perform a further risk assessment or allowing the patient to proceed to their visit.
Compared to legacy paper tools and flowcharts traditionally used for patient screening, the digital tool is proved to be simpler for staff to use due to the automated question algorithm feature used in the digital survey application. While some electronic medical records have decision support tools for patient screening, these electronic medical record tools can be costly and often only accessible by clinical staff located away from the healthcare facility. The easy to use nature of digital survey applications enables any healthcare personnel to screen patients and rapidly isolate them before they enter the facility.
There are a few challenges in the implementation of the digital survey intervention. But they can be remediated by working together with management to reinforce with front-line staff the benefits of patient screening. Besides, the remote monitoring abilities of the digital tool enabled for intervention with staff when significant time gaps were noted between survey submissions. In conclusion, digital survey applications are effective alternatives to infectious disease screening due to their ease of use by nonclinical staff and their remote compliance monitoring capabilities.