In the fight against covid-19, Strategic Command's innovation experts at the jHub have helped develop a software innovation which is set to save NHS time and money in the vaccine rollout.
BY RANALD DINSDALE
An efficient vaccine rollout is key in our on-going fight against COVID-19. Yet with many vaccine subjects housebound and the additional complication of vaccines requiring low temperature storage, it remains a significant challenge for GPs and nurses to reach all those in need of a vaccination.
VaxiMap is a web tool that makes this process substantially more efficient. Co-developed by military medic and University of Oxford PhD student, Robert Staruch, and fellow student Thomas Kirk, VaxiMap produces an optimal route between addresses uploaded by health workers. The software is available to all, free to use, and can factor in precise dosing schedules.
Following the initial idea, Robert Staruch approached jHubMed (the medical arm of Strategic Command’s innovation accelerator, jHub) for support and was awarded £7,500 towards project costs. Oxford University Innovation (OUI) also contributed to the project, with Microsoft providing the mapping services and waiving costs in the public interest.
The time and cost savings for the NHS achieved using this software have already been significant. So far, over 20,000 routes have been built for 220,000 patients, with one user commenting: “VaxiMap saves at least an hour a day on planning time, and two hours per day on nurse travel time. Over our 230 housebound patients I would estimate savings of 4 hours of planning time and 20 hours of nurse travel time.”
Data protection is particularly important with medical services, and Robert Staruch highlights: “The platform doesn’t track any data so it’s entirely GDPR compliant, an obvious concern for NHS healthcare workers. I believe its success so far is its simplicity and ease of use.”
There are over 1 million housebound patients in the UK, and thanks to collaboration between jHub, the University of Oxford, Microsoft and the NHS, VaxiMap can be harnessed for annual flu shots and future COVID-19 vaccine schedules, saving significant amounts of time and money along the way.
Many organisations across Strategic Command have been heavily involved during the UK’s response to COVID-19. Over the past year, jHub have been collating and processing COVID-19 symptom tracking data for the NHS, our logistics specialists helped ensure PPE was distributed swiftly to those who needed it, and our personnel continue to help with mobile testing centres across the UK.
By collaborating with partners across government, utilising our expertise, and supporting innovative solutions such as VaxiMap, Strategic Command will continue to contribute to the nation’s tireless determination to combat the pandemic.