Undergoing chemotherapy is not only a difficult process for patients but also their family members. That's what Julie Adams faced first-hand when her father was affected by emphysema and required to undergo continual treatments.
It was this difficult time that made Adams realise there needed to be another way for patients with compromised immune systems and mobility issues to receive treatment. This was when Adams, together with Lorna Cook, co-founded Chemo At Home.
The pair left their roles in the healthcare sector to start the Western Australia-based business which is aimed at helping individuals receive treatments, including chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and infusions, as well as medications for patients with other chronic diseases, from their home by trained nurses and allied health professionals.
Since launching in 2013, the business has expanded nationally, servicing more than 7,400 home-based patients.
Cook said as part of growing the business, the pair had to be cautious about how they went about matching medical workers' qualifications to specific patients, as well as ensuring the correct equipment would be available for service delivery. She described it as one of the "most essential" but "administratively laborious" activities.
In a bid to reduce the time spent on such manual administrative tasks, Chemo At Home partnered with Illuminance Solutions to deploy AvantCare, a cloud-based portal designed to assist with the daily management of staff, patient care, and inventory. The platform leverages a combination of technologies, including Microsoft Office 365, Teams, and Dynamics.
"As our workforce is mobile and widely distributed, we required a cost-effective system that could provide greater transparency and accessibility for chemo@home staff, without affecting the quality and delivery of our services," Cook told ZDNet.
She explained how users are now able to enrol their own devices, manage their sign-in credentials via self-service password reset, and manage their multifactor authentication within the policies set by Chemo At Home.
"The new digital system enables us to track resources in the field and match work orders to staff members, while the inventory management capability monitors equipment to ensure workers in the field have what they need to care for the patient," she said.
More recently, the capabilities of the AvantCare platform were put to the test when Chemo At Home's patient numbers increased by 125% due to the coronavirus pandemic. This then resulted in the company growing its headcount by more than 25 during March and April.
"Many of our patients are immunocompromised, which meant when the pandemic hit there was a significant increase in the need for at-home services to support these individuals, and ensure they could continue to receive critical treatments without unnecessary risk of exposure to COVID," Cook said.
The organisation can now proactively track and trace the quality of the data that's updated in its directory.
Elsewhere, RMIT Online and the Digital Health Cooperative Research Centre have announced a suite of digital health short courses.
The health insurance company's managing director said COVID-19 has 'drained a few moats around so many healthcare fortresses and traditions'.
From text messages and quarantine video conferencing for patients, to a state-wide campaign to allow staff to work from home.