New app keeps track of spare beds to aid Somerset’s coronavirus response

An innovative new app built by Somerset County Council is helping free up vital hospital beds by keeping track of care providers with space to take in patients who are ready for discharge. 

During the coronavirus pandemic there has been an increased need for hospital beds and the ability to ensure beds are freed up efficiently.

The idea for a new app, known as Discharge 2 Assess (D2A), was first put forward by Iona Brimson, System Performance Manager, ASC, who realised it would be beneficial if there was a quicker, simpler way to track capacity with providers that we work with.  This would in turn increase the speed that we can free up the availability of much needed hospital beds.

Discussions took place between the council’s Adult Social Care and ICT teams to identify what was needed and a capacity tracker using Microsoft Cloud technologies was built in just a few days.

Councillor David Huxtable, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care, said “I’m delighted to see that this innovative use of technology has replaced the manual process of having to telephone providers.  This was a very time-consuming process and we can now efficiently increase bed capacity in hospitals.

The capacity tracker enables providers to show the D2A coordination team their capacity for up to 3 days along with the number of discharge slots they can take. Providers update the tracker daily and this information is used to understand how many discharges can be delivered by area, with a clear understanding of capacity throughout the day.

It is currently used by 5 providers with new providers being brought in as the service develops.  Users say “This is a great way of sharing our daily available discharge slots and capacity.  It is such a simple tool and only takes a couple of clicks”.

Further developments will include the ability to track providers staff absence to help understand capacity escalations.