Symmetric’s platform had it all


Early Detection in Allerød municipality before and after ED+

Symmetrics ED+ platform is a digital rendering of the triage concept. The platform provides an overview of the health of a selected group of  elderly citizens and facilitates the early detection of signs of change in their health. Allerød municipality was a frontrunner in using Symmetrics platform and greatly contributed to the testing of functionality and design of the ED+ system. We met Prevention Care Consultant Anne Mette Sørensen from Allerød municipality to discuss their work with early detection and prevention care before and after the implementation of ED+.

From laminated paper to integrated digital platform

The Home Care Department in Allerød had worked with triage and early detection for several years before implementing Symmetrics ED+ platform. But they lacked consistency in their registrations and follow-up planning.

We had earlier in the Home Care Department in Allerød experimented with a homemade system, where we assigned the citizens to certain colors, according to their state of health. At first we had laminated paper, later on screenshots from our computers. It was rather awkward to work with, but the biggest drawback was that there was no possibility to extract statistics. But then came Symmetric, and their platform had it all. Our care workers use the app on their phones to register their observations when visiting the citizens, and all groups can keep up to date with developments in the citizens’ health state on the boards. Our work process has become a lot more systematic and it is now possible to see statistics for each citizen’s health status over time as well as for the distribution of green, yellow and red citizens within each group.

The system is easy to use and can be readily accessed. Any member of the staff can access any screen on any computer in order to find the information they need. All care workers in our Home Care Department are using it, and we expect that our Care Centers will soon implement the customized version. Our nurses also use the system to triage the citizens in their care, and the information registered by them is included in the overall statistics for the group.

A new and more reflective way of working

ED+ was implemented with an expectation that it can assist in preventing unnecessary hospitalizations of elderly citizens who receive care in their homes. The latest statistics show indeed a decreasing number of preventable hospitalizations. More unexpected was that ED+ led to a whole new way of  working.

We have used triage for nearly four years now, with an expectation that it will improve our preventive work. It is not until now that we can see a clear tendency towards fewer preventable hospitalizations.

When we started working with triage, we thought that it was merely a prevention tool. But it is in fact a whole different way of working – and a much more reflective one. The care workers reflect constantly upon how to provide the most adequate care for our citizens, how to prevent the unnecessary hospitalizations. We used triage before Symmetric came with ED+, but we had no specific follow-up planning for our observations. Now we assess the citizens’ current situation systematically at each joint triage meeting and discuss appropriate measures. The way of working is new.

Creating a common language and enhancing professionalism

The systematic discussions during the joint triage meetings, supported by ED+ with its convenient visualization of the collected data, enhance professionalism and facilitate communication among the various employee groups.

Many different professions participate in our triage meetings: nurses, social and health care assistants and helpers, dieticians and rehabilitation therapists. They come each with the terminology specific to their profession. The colors in the triage overview provide a common language understood by all: there is no doubt about what red, yellow and green signify. Neither is there any doubt about the need for immediate action when a citizen is in red, in order to avoid hospitalization or a decline in life quality.

Another very positive effect of working with ED+ is the experience exchange and skill enhancement facilitated by the triage meetings. Newbies are sitting side by side with experienced workers, who come up with answers and recommendations grounded in their long years of practice. Newly hired nurses who might have hospital experience are able to gain knowledge specific to Home Care. On our triage meetings we can help each other and acquire an extremely valuable interdisciplinary experience. It is a quite unique feature.

Early detection is not merely an economic tool

There is an increased attention both politically and professionally to the importance of early detection in preventing unnecessary hospitalizations. The implementation of ED+ in Allerød municipality Home Care has helped increase focus on early detection among decision makers.

There is no doubt that ED+ has helped  make politicians as well as Home Care professionals more aware now of the importance of early detection. We held presentations for our townhall politicians about the importance of early detection – not merely as an exercise in saving money, but as a means to give our elderly citizens a better quality of life. It’s not nice for them to be hospitalized unnecessarily. We want to keep them as long as possible in their own home, where they feel most comfortable.

A system we can and want to use

At Symmetric we strive to design products that are a perfect match to the needs of their users, making their working day easier and optimizing their workflow. Does it make a difference to the users?

Concern for and involvement in the users’ needs are even more important than you might imagine, because we almost expect that any new IT will only make our work more difficult. With Symmetric, any problem we might have is being taken care of right away. The company has been very amenable to our needs, so we ended up with a system that we not only can, but also want to use. The implementation of ED+ has been so succesful because the care workers themselves experience how the system improves their work process. ED+ is not implemented top-down. The workers themselves pass it on to the newly hired. They experience that they have gained greater influence on their own work. They concerns and observations are heard and are being addressed immediately.

The Care Center module is awaited with great anticipation. It has meant the world for our Care Center staff that Symmetric spent time at their workplace learning about their specific needs and work processes. This is precisely what has been so great in our collaboration with Symmetric: they have listened to our needs and experienced our working environment first hand. Therefore we have a system that can effectively be used in our workplaces.