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Building applications and automations for more efficient healthcare


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Kevin Ingrey, chief technology officer of Tisski, explains how it can help NHS organisations exploit the Microsoft platform in developing new digital tools

There are so many facets of technology that can be used to solve common day-to-day business problems, and they are as relevant in healthcare as anywhere.

But it needs a focus on outcomes and an intent to change processes that might be cumbersome to manage. This is where Tisski comes in, providing support for these changes, with capabilities that include an expertise in using Microsoft technology.

A key element of this is in exploiting the Microsoft Power Platform, which includes a number of facets to develop the tools to solve problems quickly, efficiently and in a governed and centralised way. This makes it possible to build tools that do not just solve a specific problem, but are expansive and can be used across organisations to deliver different goals.

Apps and Automate

One of the features of the platform is Power Apps. It provides capabilities to take a low code or professional coding approach to building mobile applications, taking advantage of the growing 5G infrastructure to support the development of remote healthcare.

Power Automate is a workflow engine for automating processes more quickly, which can be highly useful taking on routine processes and improving efficiencies. This can help take much of the burden to leave staff with more time for the humanistic elements of healthcare.

Power BI is a business analytics platform that enables the exploitation of data, giving organisations the ability to harmonise and gain insights for positive actions.

The final element is Power Virtual Agents, which provides a function for building the chatbots that are becoming increasingly important for dealing with queries from the public on a 24/7 basis.

Underpinning these is the concept of Dataverse, a data architecture that allows you to see, hold and use data that can be used with all of these applications in building tools to achieve the desired outcomes.

We have been involved in developing some key examples of applications that are delivering positive results for healthcare.

Supporting lone workers

These include the Lone Worker Application developed by NHS Surrey and Borders Partnership. It is a great tool for supporting the safety of lone members of staff working in communities, providing the capability to track their movements in potentially risky areas, giving them the ability to report in on where they are and what they are going to do.

It was developed on the low code element of Power Apps, with an intuitive user interface and the capacity to push out SMS messages and report on details of worker movements.

NHS Scotland has developed a shift recording and timesheet application, which has replaced a paper based process for reporting where workers have been and their activities with a digital process.

Initiatives around portals have also been important, making the advantages of the technology available to patients and recipients of care. These include the NHS Healthy Start app for claims for support in buying food and milk, and a web front end for the public developed by the NHS Business Services Authority as an alternative to the Covid app. 

Better cleaning

Serco is using an app to support its management of cleaning in hospitals, tracking where its cleaners enter rooms and taking notifications of tasks to ensure the areas have been cleaned. This provides a more streamlined approach than using manually managed rotas and gives the organisation an accurate view of jobs done.

Some hospital trusts are now using apps for tracking equipment. Among them is Royal United Hospitals Bath, which has a ward audit and equipment checking mobile app for staff to notify when and where they are moving equipment.

We are also focused on the art of the possible, looking ahead with various NHS bodies to new applications combining the Microsoft Power Platform with other technologies. These include a proof of concept on invoice processing, in which a document is scanned and submitted to an artificial intelligence model that tags it as containing the relevant type of data, such as billing details and purchase order numbers, so they can be extracted and stored in other systems.

When you are done with the scanning you can take the data and update records or use it in other corresponding actions. It is basically automating a manual process that, while only taking a few minutes for each instance, can accumulate to big time savings.

Diabetes prevention

There are also opportunities in the clinical field. Tisski has been working with a partner in the health industry to use data analytics in measuring and predicting the propensity for people to successfully complete diabetes prevention programmes. The scenario takes common data patterns for people with diabetes entering a referral programme, and using a machine learning algorithm, predicts successful completion based on performance trends of previous cohorts.

This provides alerts for interventions when needed to keep the patient on the programme, and will hopefully provide for more successful completions, which in turn could reduce the number of people with severe diabetes problems.

The key in all of these is being able to take the relevant data, obtain insights and drive actions for better outcomes. Tisski can provide the expertise to help healthcare organisations use Microsoft technology in developing solutions that make them more efficient and raise the quality of care.

To find out how Tisski can help your healthcare organisation use Microsoft technology to improve patient experience, automate process to free up valuable resource and deliver better value from NHS Trusts, contact [email protected] or call its healthcare account lead, John Fawcett, on 07985 354708


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