The challenge

NHS trusts need to adapt quickly to the global pandemic and reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Trusts are required to make lateral flow COVID-19 home test kits available to their staff. Frontline NHS and care home staff need to test regularly and report their results.

Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust required an integrated digital solution. They wanted a choice of access routes to ensure all staff could submit their results. The staff testing programme is part of its wider infection control efforts, which include controlled test kit distribution and PCR confirmation testing.

NHS staff must self-test regularly for COVID-19 and act on positive and inconclusive results. Trusts are required to report the data on staff test results to Public Health England.

Resources

Leaflet – COVID Staff Testing App

The solution

Health Call’s COVID Staff Testing Application was developed in just two weeks. The kit and app are designed to capture possible asymptomatic COVID infections in staff, before they start work.

The app works alongside a self-testing kit, which is provided by the trust to provide quick results. The app provides bespoke advice based on the outcome of the test.

The web-based survey is accessed using a mobile app or online portal. It asks for the test result and includes a confirmatory step to satisfy clinical safety requirements. The staff member receives bespoke advice, tailored to their reported result.

Requirements included staff members recording the test kit’s serial number and contact details which is crucial for national and local reporting requirements. Trusts have access to the data which can be viewed at department level and supplied to Public Health England and NHS Digital.

How does it work?

  • Staff are provided with a supply of lateral flow testing kits by their employer.
  • Their organisation registers them on the service and issues a welcome email.
  • The user sets up their secure login details as well as downloading the app to their smartphone, tablet or access the online portal.
  • Whenever they perform a home test, staff record the latest contact number, test kit serial number and the result – positive, negative or unclear.
  • They then confirm the result of the test.
  • If the test result is unclear twice, they receive an automated message with advice about the next steps.
  • The data record is collected by the trust which can then be made available in line with national reporting requirements.

What are the benefits of the COVID Staff testing app?

  • It captures the potential of COVID infection in asymptomatic staff before they start their shift.
  • Digitally managing the service means the trust benefits from time, cost and resource efficiencies.
  • Staff are reassured by the advice they receive about the next steps.
  • A reduction in the spread of infection, which helps protect vulnerable patients and the wider community.

Testimonials

Throughout the pandemic we’ve had to work at speed to respond to the changing situation. This testing programme involves thousands of our frontline clinical staff, and finding an intelligent digital solution for recording and reporting results was essential. The home testing app gives us real time information and the ability to respond quickly to positive results and keep people safe from COVID-19.

It’s been a real pleasure to work with Health Call to develop this app. Their ability to understand the specific challenge and work with us to develop a rapid response was exactly what we needed and gave the team working on this project real confidence. We now have a solution which is clear, simple and easy to use and provides real time data for national reporting.

Resources

Leaflet – COVID Staff Testing App

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