The Major Incident App (MIA), designed by Dr Peter Hulme, an emergency consultant at Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, has enabled staff to be contacted during emergencies – even if their phones are placed on silent or ‘Do Not Disturb’ mode.
In the aftermath of the Manchester Arena bombing in May 2017, Dr Hulme decided to find a solution to the challenges around alerting off duty staff to serious incidents, such as bypassing silent phones, coordinating and managing communications while simultaneously treating the injured, and preparing staff to respond to future events.
In a blog for St. Emlyn’s, a virtual hospital and online resource developed by educationalists at the Manchester Royal Infirmary, Dr Hulme, who helped treat patients from the Manchester Arena attack, noted that, “talking to colleagues I realised that if the attack had happened half an hour or an hour later…many people would have been asleep and/or their phones on silent.”
Dr Hulme’s solution was to design a smartphone app that could alert emergency staff to major incidents, even if their phones were on silent or Do Not Disturb, through the sending of a single message that would allow multiple users to respond about their availability and estimated time of arrival.
Other features include secure login, a profile section for updating contact details, and a bespoke admin system for audit trails and governance.
Replies are sent to a website platform, from which the incident response can be coordinated, with a user deciding who is needed immediately and planning who should attend at a later time, selecting only the number of staff who are required, and enabling other staff to continue their work and preparation.
Dr Hulme worked on the app through the Newly Appointed Consultants course at the Manchester trust, and applied for funding through the ‘Wouldn’t it be Good IF’ campaign supported by the Innovation Factor and Mimi, as well as through the trust’s own proof of concept fund.
He then worked with James Corden from TrusTech to create a more detailed specification, before calling for pitches from development companies, and eventually selecting QuayTech Enterprises as the developer.
“This was a surreal moment for me having people pitching and demonstrating all kinds of apps that they had developed like a tracking app for sailing races and apps for discounts at restaurants,” explained Dr Hulme in his blog post, later adding that, “if you’ve got an idea that you believe in for something that will improve healthcare keep plugging away despite setbacks.”
To find out more about the app and its response times, you can view a study on the digital messaging platform, here.
Source: Pete Hulme, “Major Incidents- There’s now a new app for that too,” in St.Emlyn’s, June 6, 2020, https://www.stemlynsblog.org/major-incidents-theres-now-a-new-app-for-that-too/.