Preparing for the next major medical emergency

Emergency Surgical Response Unit - Francis Wood

Emergency Surgical Response Unit – Francis Woods

Aid Works is working with Save the Children UK to help improve the health information system for their Emergency Surgical Response Unit.

The Unit will function as an emergency resource in the event of a natural disaster causing mass casualties, or in conflict scenarios requiring longer-term trauma, surgical or clinical care support. Medicines and equipment will be brought into the disaster zone and set up rapidly to ensure the medical team has everything they need to save lives. The team will aim to be on the ground treating and operating on patients within 90 hours from the decision to deploy. The Unit is a collaborative initiative between Save the Children UK, Handicap International and UK-Med, and is funded by UK Aid.

Our job is to review the Unit’s Health Information System to ensure it is functional for deployment during a crisis. This kind of hospital system can become quite complicated compared to primary healthcare systems, due to the need to have both general data and patient-specific data, required for surgeries, rehabilitation aspects, inpatients and follow-up after discharge. This is no easy task!

Key features of our work include:

  • Seeking inclusive design inputs from practitioner-specialists to ensure the system works exactly as they need it to, including the outputs required for management decision making,
  • Keeping it simple to ensure it is easily deployable, whilst also ensuring an acceptable level of detail in the patient data,
  • Looking at easy to use software design, manuals and training materials,
  • Investigating how to link the Unit with other existing health information systems.

In 2015, we’ll be working with Save the Children UK to pilot the system prior to any deployment, and hope to support the deployment team in the event of an emergency.