Virtual infection control training for care homes launches
Critical workers in healthcare environments in the UK can now gain essential emergency infection control and prevention skills virtually, thanks to training technology being developed by Solutions 42, with support from vocational education specialist Ufi VocTech Trust.
Solutions 42 is a performance improvement advisory that has developed an e-platform called 'Spotless'. The scenario-based platform provides staff with the principles of Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) in healthcare environments.
The app-based software allows care home emergency procedures to be taught remotely, but also practised virtually. Learners are put in realistic scenarios where they make decisions on how to manage the hygienic care of residents and their surrounding environment.
Back in March, UK care homes - which house about 400,000 elderly people - shut their doors as the coronavirus pandemic surged. Six months later, the government is weighing up banning staff from working in more than one care home to cut transmission, against the risk this poses to staff shortages.
Solutions 42 and Ufi have developed the platform as a solution to this, swo that new staff members can be trained in infection control without taking physical resources away from care homes.
Becky Hill, Founder of Solutions 42, says: “Thanks to funding from the Ufi VocTech Trust, we’ve been able to implement a platform that has the potential to save lives. Digital, scenario-based teaching will revolutionise the way that staff are being trained in infection control.
"It empowers those on the front lines of care home hygiene to gain the skills and confidence needed to manage high-risk scenarios, before actually entering those environments."
Spotless is funded and technically facilitated by Ufi. Rebecca Garrod-Waters, CEO at Ufi VocTech Trust says: “Face-to-face training is become a less and less viable option in healthcare environments, even though it has never mattered more. The need for limited face-to-face contact shouldn’t have an impact on someone’s ability to develop skills which mean that they can provide essential, effective care and progress in their career.
“Through the introduction of remote learning technology, we can give community workers the opportunity to practise first-response action before being faced with a high-risk situation, keeping themselves and patients safer.
“‘Spotless’ is a perfect example of how advocating for the delivery of accessible and truly applicable vocational education technology helps us not just to respond to a crisis, but allows us to construct a sustainable training system which has long-lasting benefit.”
Zoom enters the healthcare market - a timeline
Since the pandemic began Zoom has become an integral part of daily life for people working from home, as well as a vital tool for families and friends to communicate. However it's also been eyeing up the healthcare space since 2017, and following the boom in telehealth the company has been rolling out additional services. Here we chart Zoom's move into healthcare.
2011 - 2013
Zoom is founded in San Jose, California, by Eric Yuan, formerly of Cisco. He got the idea to create a video calling platform from his visits to his girlfriend while he was a student, which would take 10 hours by train.
A beta version is released in 2012, which can host up to 15 participants. In 2013 this rises to 25. By mid-2013, Zoom has 1 million users.
2014 - 2017
Zoom attracts investors, including Sequoia Capital, Emergence and Horizon Ventures. By January 2017, Zoom has a series D funding worth $100 million.
2017 - 2019
Zoom for Telehealth launches, including an integration with EHR system Epic. It has cloud-based video, audio, and content sharing features, a "waiting room" for patients, and can easily be integrated into healthcare provider's workflows.
In 2019 Zoom goes public, with its IPO rising 72% in one day.
As a result of the pandemic, Zoom gains 2.2 million new users, more than in the whole of 2019. On the 23rd of March alone - the day the UK lockdown was announced - the platform was downloaded 2.13 million times around the world.
Share prices rise to around $150, and founder and chief executive Eric Yuan becomes one of the world's richest people, with an estimated net worth of $7.9 billion.
Early security issues are addressed by encrypting data with the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES). By now the the platform allows 99 people to be on a call simultaneously
New features launch, including Zoom Home and Zoom for Chats. Throughout the year the platform is used to replace most kinds of real life events: work meetings, online classrooms, church services and social events.
Renamed Zoom for Healthcare, users can share secured video, audio, and content through desktops, mobile phones, and conference devices. As well as Epic, it can be integrated with Strmr, IntakeQ, and Practice Better.
It can also be used with diagnostic cameras and other point-of-care devices, including digital stethoscopes.
In an interview with Korea Biomedical Review, Zoom Global Healthcare Lead Ron Emerson said: "Our service is not simply a virtual care and telemedicine platform but a multi-purpose platform that can satisfy the needs of healthcare institutions."
"It can be used for administrative tasks, including telemedicine, medical team meetings, recruitment, medical education, employee training, and disease prevention. Analysing electronic records managed by Zoom could provide meaningful insights into patient care."
Phoenix Children's Hospital, Belfast's Hospital Services Limited, Butler Health Services and the global Project ECHO are among Zoom for Healthcare's current customers.