App is just what the doctor ordered for Bara paediatric burn unit

11 February 2020 - 13:02
By Karabo Ledwaba
The app is free for public hospitals
Image: Tyler Olson/ The app is free for public hospitals

An app designed to improve communication between hospital staff has been hailed as success by doctors at the Chris Hani Baragwanath paediatric burn unit.

Signapps Serve is a mobile application that allows doctors, nurses, physiotherapists and so forth to create a profile of a patient and the care they receive under their watch.

The app which was created by Healthcent is now free to use for the public health sector.

Dr Ronnell Parkhurst, who is the head of the paediatric burn unit, told Sowetan that they have been using the app since 2018.

“The app has allowed us to have fluid communication between the medical team, because each person on the team is able to upload information on the patient; we don’t have to sift through information,” she said.

Parkhurst said before the app, doctors would communicate via whatsapp which was not the most efficient tool.

“This method was also not very secure. Pictures and information could have possibly landed in the wrong hands,” she said.

The doctor said her unit receives 600 patients annually under the age of ten with burns that are bigger than 10% of their body.

“Most of the patients we admit are burnt by hot water, followed by flames and then we see cases like electrical burns,” said Parkhurst.

The doctor said the hospital serves a big population and she has noticed a close correlation between burn injuries and socio-economic status.

This means that the app is able to relieve pressure on healthcare providers with information being readily available in digital format.

“Another thing is that even when a doctor or a nurse is not at the hospital, they can comment on the app to help those who are at the hospital with a difficult case,” said Parkhurst.

“Regardless of hierarchy you can get opinions and keeps doctors aware of what is happening with their patient in real time.”

Parkhurst said she hopes all hospitals and units will use this app, especially to improve hospital record keeping.

Since the official launch of the app a number of hospitals, including the Red Cross Children’s Hospital have shown interest. “The overwhelming response to the launch of this package from the public sector has meant that we are having to prioritise implementations,” said CEO ofHealthcent Andrew Davies.