The first of its kind here, the tool called Blue Mirror PPE Instructor is powered by artificial intelligence. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI
SINGAPORE - A new digital tool to ensure healthcare workers and visitors entering high-risk wards are wearing their personal protective equipment (PPE) properly will be deployed at Singapore General Hospital (SGH) within the next two months.
The first of its kind here, the tool, called Blue Mirror PPE Instructor, is powered by artificial intelligence.
Deputy director of the nursing division at SGH, Ms Ang Shin Yuh, in 2020 suggested the idea of using technology to ensure that PPE is worn properly.
At the time, nurses were deployed to a community care facility at Singapore Expo to care for migrant workers who had Covid-19, and they had to manually check one another's PPE using mirrors before entering the place.
Ms Bushra Shaik Ismail, a nurse clinician at the infection prevention and epidemiology department at SGH, said nurses had to spend almost a whole day teaching about 30 non-healthcare workers the proper way of donning PPE.
To ensure the health and safety of nurses and to allow them to focus on patient care, SGH partnered with Blue Mirror, a New Zealand-based health tech company, in November 2021 to customise its Blue Mirror PPE Instructor for use at the hospital.
The solution, which was validated with about 200 staff and visitors, can detect the right and wrong movements during gown donning and doffing.
It will be deployed in an isolation ward, a multidrug-resistant organism ward that allows visits, and the training department at SGH.
It is installed in iPads or tablets that can be mounted on a tripod or any flat surface.
The customised solution comprises three modes. The buddy mode helps to check healthcare workers' PPE, taking less than three minutes.
The training mode provides one-on-one sessions for new staff, who can practise repeatedly at any time without the need for a human trainer.
Visitors will learn to wear the PPE at a pace slower than the training mode's and can refer to step-by-step instructions on the tablet.
Through audio prompts and pictorial guides, the tool will alert staff and visitors if they are wearing equipment such as gloves and gowns incorrectly.
It can also track healthcare workers' compliance with the hospital's PPE protocols.
"The solution can also be further customised for disease-specific protocol, contact tracing purposes, and image recognition for staff access in the future. This will put us in the best possible position when the next pandemic hits," said Ms Ang.