Updated: Jan 12, 2022
In Early 2020, as the rise of COVID-19 created a global panic about PPE shortages, those at the coal face recognised that even with all the supplies required for thorough PPE, the rate of exposure to infection at the point of putting PPE on and taking it off was significant and therefore a matter of life and death.
Many practitioners continued working with the buddy system whereby colleagues would observe and assist in each other’s PPE use. This has always required rigorous and often time consuming training, on top of the individual’s existing responsibilities.
With medics in short supply and the scope for human error having such grave consequences, CorrMed was approached by the CEO of Blue Mirror who was working with clinical experts from Royal Melbourne Hospital to create an observational artificial intelligence tool to help support the PPE buddy requirements spanning all healthcare settings.
Where the standard buddy system requires each participant to be fully trained on the specifics of the PPE they are using, thus occupying man hours arguably needed elsewhere, Blue Mirror is an AI tablet which uses a camera to observe and assess donning and doffing in real time, alleviating the need for a human buddy.
At the end of often extended shifts, medical workers in the field are increasingly finding themselves suffering with ‘PPE fatigue’ which further heightens the margin for human error. With Blue Mirror, the individual is not only able to see themselves clearly in the mirror but the in-the-moment feedback from the AI program reminds them of best practice should they accidentally miss stages of the process.
With each use, Blue Mirror analyses and reports trends in steps that may be frequently missed or incorrectly executed and is therefore able to pinpoint with greater accuracy focus points for training. When used as part of initial training in the use of PPE, it is found to increase engagement and make the training process more enjoyable which in-turn encourages users to retain the information provided.
CorrMed’s MD Katie Houghton has a wealth of experience with infection control software, having founded ICNet International Limited in 2000 and developing ICNet infection surveillance. Katie is over the moon to have the opportunity to work with such innovation at this critical time for infection control.
So far, the CorrMed team have three evaluations underway in the UK with a poster from Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust presented at Infection Prevention Society 2021. CorrMed is now actively talking with many infection control and learning and development teams to introduce Blue Mirror which, when rolled out, will not only enable a stress-free transition into and out of PPE for the professionals using it but in turn will minimise cross contamination at this junction and ultimately save lives.