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Department of Computer Science and Technology

An international team of developers, including a visiting student in this Department, has created an open-source online hospital resource management system of benefit to both doctors and families.

Dolores Garcia Marti is collaborating with others from Imperial College London, IMDEA Networks and Facebook on the system following an urgent request from a hospital in the Lausanne area, Switzerland, after doctors there found that current management systems were lacking when it came to allocating resources during an epidemic. Their solution, the One Stop Epidemy Resource (OSER), is a system for managing critical resources in an accessible, easy way.

The OSER has been developed to address the shortage of ventilators and respiration equipment needed to help patients with severe Covid-19 symptoms. But it could be applied to the management of any hospital resources and equipment.

What makes our website special is that we continuously receive input from the medical staff to address their needs.

Dolores Garcia Marti

Through OSER's easy-to-use dashboard, doctors and nurses can efficiently allocate resources, project future equipment usage and instantly see the current status of patients and equipment. In addition, it can display the expected daily hospitalisation numbers (based on regional projections) to inform decision-making.

The system was built as a result of a request from medical staff and has continued to evolve as a result of their feedback.

"We reached out to the best programmers we knew to put this together," Dolores says, "and, in a few days, we had an excellent team of developers. But what makes our website special is that we continuously receive input from the medical staff to address their needs."

"The plan," she adds, "is to roll it out in the next few days to any interested hospitals and all open source”. 

Once the initial system was developed, the team realised that it could also be beneficial to families who were concerned about their loved ones. A family notifications page was created that could be used by doctors to provide updates about relatives who were receiving treatment.

This feature allows medical staff to provide status updates more efficiently through software they are already using, and families benefit by having regular updates during worrying times when they cannot visit their loved ones.

As well as working with the hospital in Lausanne, Dolores and her collaborators have been approached by hospitals and local government representatives in Spain to see whether the OSER system could complement their regional systems. 

Hospital image: courtesy of Adhy Savala on Unsplash.

Published by Rachel Gardner on Thursday 16th April 2020