NHS staff at three trusts in England will submit their COVID-19 test results through a digital platform, in a move to make the infection control and statutory reporting process within NHS trusts more efficient and reliable.
Since the introduction of twice-weekly COVID-19 testing for all frontline staff from 23 November, NHS trusts have been looking to find ways to coordinate and manage this mammoth task. With 250,000 patient-facing staff in NHS trusts, 0.5M tests will be carried out each week. There is no existing process or guidance to manage the huge influx of information, and no easy way of extracting data to report to Public Health England. Many have been relying on paper, public web forms, and Excel spreadsheets, which can be labour intensive to process and manage, may compromise data quality and reliability, and are not always secure.
In response to this challenge, three hospitals have been working with Infinity Health and Liaison Group to deploy a solution, adapted from an existing digital task management platform. University Hospital Southampton, The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust, and he Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust, and The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trustwill collectively onboard 10,356 staff – including 712 doctors and 1,670 nurses – onto Infinity, which sends automated reminders to every staff member required to self-test. Staff can then securely submit their results and receive instructions to re-test or isolate if necessary. The data is collected and analysed in real-time by the trust.
The three trusts are now tracking, analysing, and reporting on staff COVID-19 data in real-time, in a way that is significantly more efficient and secure than using spreadsheets and paper forms. An additional benefit of Infinity is that the data can be split by categories including role type, department, ward, gender, and ethnicity, which is supporting them to meet statutory Public Health England (PHE) reporting requirements, identify outbreaks within hospital sites, and understand trends in the infection.
Dr Freya Pearson, Operational Staff Testing Lead at University Hospital Southampton, said: “Keeping our staff and patients safe during the pandemic has been our absolute priority and the lateral flow testing option has added to our ability to achieve that goal.
“When this testing method became available, our challenge was to ensure we had a reliable and secure way for staff to register and record their results and make it as seamless as possible to work with our existing testing platforms that staff would find easy to navigate.
“Infinity was able to deliver on that all round digital solution, enabling us to have full confidence to roll out lateral flow testing to our staff in the quickest time possible.
“The Infinity team also showed an exceptional level of understanding and experience in working with our project team to develop a solution that worked for our Trust and our people.”
Elliott Engers, CEO at Infinity Health and Andrew Armitage, Group CEO at Liaison Group, said: “Regularly testing NHS staff for COVID-19 is a fundamental part of infection control. Paper and public online forms simply aren’t fit for the purpose of managing test result data, yet in the absence of a national system, and under significant pressure to act, this is what many have been forced to resort to. We are delighted to have been able to move quickly and support several trusts with a data collection and reporting tool they can rely on. Together we will ensure that NHS staff remain safe and well whilst at work, and can protect the patients they care for.”