How technology can help during a pandemic

Dr. Gordon Dow, Infectious Disease Specialist at Horizon’s The Moncton Hospital (TMH) and Dr. Timothy MacLaggan, Regional Clinical Resource Pharmacist, Infectious Disease at Horizon’s The Moncton Hospital

During a global pandemic, having the ability to deliver the most up-to-date and accurate information to clinicians is key.

Enter: The Spectrum App.

As clinicians, we need to have access to the right information at the right time, all in one easy-to-find place. Using an online application such as Spectrum allows us to get vital information to clinicians when they need it.

The app provides support to pharmacists, physicians and other health care providers, with up-to-date Horizon adapted clinical guidelines. This will help significantly as we combat the COVID-19 outbreak.

What is the Spectrum App?

Spectrum is a mobile antimicrobial stewardship app that is customizable to regional antimicrobial stewardship guidelines; resistance data; formulary and dosing information; and infection, prevention and control standards. 

Spectrum’s platform is customized for Horizon to include our clinical guidelines, resistance data and dosing information.

“The Spectrum App provides our frontline clinical teams with the most current and up-to-date COVID-19 decision support information,” said Jennifer Sheils, Horizon’s Chief Information Officer. “The decision to deploy this tool early in our COVID-19 response has proven to be very effective.”

Current situation

In Canada, Spectrum is being used by hundreds of hospitals to deliver customized antimicrobial stewardship and COVID-19 related guidelines. It was important for Horizon to have easy access to our guidelines during the pandemic and Spectrum made this possible.

In just a few short weeks, over 1,200 Horizon clinicians have been actively using the app, improving their access to infectious disease guidelines.

The uptake and feedback have been overwhelmingly positive. We’ve heard from colleagues about their success with the app. For example, one colleague said: “I can use the app to quickly obtain therapy recommendations for my patients even when outside the hospital.”

What else you should know

  • The app can be used to send important messages to clinicians – all you need to do is download the app to get these latest updates and key practice points.
  • Since it is not connected to any clinical system, there are no privacy risks associated and there is no place for users to enter patient information.
  • And even more, the app can be used offline without an internet connection and does not require any in-house IT support.

Learning from the success of others

Other health organizations have been using it with success. Our colleagues at Eastern Health (Newfoundland and Labrador), the IWK Health Centre in Halifax, and Alberta Health Services have been using it for years.

They’ve noticed a reduction in C. difficile cases (17% reduction in Calgary), increases in antimicrobial appropriateness, reduction in the need for stewardship interventions and a 12.8 to 25% reduction in antimicrobial usage and/or cost. 

We hope to benefit from the same results.

When done right, technology can make our jobs easier and more efficient. We’re pleased with the results and look forward to seeing how it transforms the way we work.