Breadcrumb Digital and Bolton Clarke have been working together on a variety of Microsoft 365 and Power Platform projects since 2017.
This case study looks at how high levels of trust and a rapid development approach using Microsoft’s Power Platform became an important part of COVID-19 management.
Bolton Clarke, one of the largest Australian owned and operated not-for-profit healthcare and independent living service providers.
The year that was 2020 presented many challenges, and one sector that faced particular challenges was the aged care sector.
Bolton Clarke understood the threat that COVID-19 posed to the people in their care and their employees, and were determined to be as prepared as possible for any outbreak. They wanted to maintain a safe environment, and had the following questions which needed urgent answers:
- How do we ensure that visitors to our residential facilities are not infectious?
- How do we ensure employees are not reporting for work when unwell?
- How do we provide the right levels of personal protective equipment (PPE) to all staff?
- How do we track and report on clients and staff that are put into isolation because they either display symptoms or have a close contact?
- How do we manage employees who are in a high-risk category for COVID, or are stood down because they are unwell?
The organisation had existing success with Power Apps developed in Microsoft 365 for clinical reporting and turned to Breadcrumb Digital for rapid design and delivery.
Addressing these problems required:
- business analysis to identify, understand and articulate the problem for the technical experts
- Office 365 and Power Platform experience to advise on how to set up the workspace to allow the appropriate access to the solution while meeting privacy constraints
- Power Apps development experience to cater for the wide range of requirements in the different solutions
- specification writing expertise to allow the client to do Power BI report development in parallel with the application development
- Agile and flexible approach to development to allow constant adjustment to changing requirements.
The time pressure Bolton Clarke was under due to the pandemic was a key factor which drove a rapid development approach. Power Apps are suited to an iterative development process as they can be developed very quickly and the cost of change is low.
Breadcrumb worked closely with the information management and clinical teams in Bolton Clarke to produce prototypes that solidified requirements and refined the product very quickly. This also allowed a minimum viable product to be delivered quickly and features to be added easily.
Several apps were developed to support significant large-scale and critical processes. SharePoint was used as the central communications and access hub for the apps and provided up to date COVID news and information relevant to staff.
Visitor screening app
All staff and visitors to any Bolton Clarke location are required to answer a series of questions as they arrive at the facility. They provide their contact details, along with additional questions including places of work or travel, travel to a COVID hotspot or contact with a positive case and a declaration of any existing symptoms. Crucially, the app evaluates the answers and grants or denies entry to the person. All the records are stored in a SharePoint list, to allow future contact tracing if required.
PPE stocktake app
Bolton Clarke was confident they had sufficient basic PPE such as hand sanitiser and face masks during the height of lockdown. Their challenge was that it was distributed across their sites. The PPE stocktake app allowed a central view of PPE consumption and the ability to see opportunities to transfer supplies between facilities when stocks were at a critical level. The data that underpinned the reporting was collected by staff at facilities via a regular count of the quantity of the essential items.
Infection tracking app
Bolton Clarke had multiple needs for detailed logging and reporting of COVID-19 infection:
- information was required for daily government reporting
- the clinical teams required a view of where facilities had to isolate residents and how they were faring.
The infection tracking app integrated with their clinical system so that a user at a Bolton Clarke facility could select the resident and use the app daily to report on any symptoms, temperature, where pathology results had been requested and the pathology result outcome. The clinical team then had an up-to-date view of people and areas at risk and could provide extra equipment and support where required.
Staff management app
Managers wanted to ensure their staff were looked after during this period, and in particular at-risk groups like elderly staff members could remain gainfully employed while not exposing themselves to potential infection.
The staff management app allowed a manager to record where they had provided alternate duties for staff or staff were required to take leave because of possible exposure, and when the staff were likely to be able to return to work and normal duties.
The app allows a record of the outcomes of discussions between the staff member and their manager to be entered, to ensure the manager is prompted to keep regular contact with the staff member, and to give the HR team an overview of the impact of COVID on the workforce at each facility.
Each of these apps took only a few weeks to go from conception to being in use at Bolton Clarke sites and communities. Weekly releases allowed the organisation to keep on top of changing requirements – for example, new risk indicators or symptoms to screen visitors and staff for or new government reporting requirements to be captured in the infection tracker. Ultimately the organisation benefited from:
- increased visibility of the risk to their staff and residents
- efficient handling of limited PPE resources
- being able to rapidly respond to the changing environment and restrictions placed on residential facilities.
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