Innovation, collaboration and sustainability: our COVID-19 Wellness Self Assessments have come a long way

We all now know the drill. Before entering a HealthShare NSW site, complete the COVID-19 wellness self assessment screening check and then if no concerns are raised, you’re good to go.

Date published: 08 Sep 2021

Author: Alyssa Faith

Focus on people Healthshare NSW News COVID-19 Frontline staff Linen services

For almost 18 months, this screening has been required by NSW Health for all staff and visitors entering a health service. Each health service, including HealthShare NSW, has been responsible for creating a process to screen, review and store responses for the purpose of contact tracing. We’ve all been on this journey together and adapted to the ongoing changes and updates to these screening questions.

However, it has been HealthShare NSW's frontline staff who have really helped shape the creation of an effective customised solution through their adaptability, patience and feedback. From paper-based forms to online early-adopter sites, staff across Clinical Support Services have worked closely with the Health and Wellbeing team to create a process that is compliant, flexible and makes the process as smooth as possible.

In December 2020, 41 early adopter sites across HealthShare NSW completed a trial phase using a custom-made online form accessible by scanning a QR code. The online form provides benefits such as reduced manual scanning to streamline the process for staff and is environmentally sustainable.

In April 2021, the online system was rolled out across Linen Services and EnableNSW and in July, the rollout continued across Ambulance Make Ready, Food and Patient Support Services sites and Dock 9 Westmead (warehouse staff).

Patient Transport Services and other relevant staff and visitors continue to use their Logis mobile devices and Sine Pro systems respectively.

Since going “digital”, the wellness assessment has also become a crucial part of monitoring and compliance, not only for employee wellbeing, but also the Public Health Order requirements for COVID-19 surveillance testing in select local government areas in Metro Sydney.

“As a healthcare system, we weren’t able to use the current Service NSW app due to our requirement to ask additional questions around symptoms, travel and any possible exposure to COVID-19,” said Sally Martin, People and Culture Officer in the Wellbeing team.

“So we were required to create a customised online system. The HealthShare NSW Health and Wellbeing team created a QR code based system to capture staff details and facilitate daily wellness screenings.

“Accessibility and ease of use was a key consideration throughout the development and implementation process. For example, if someone’s phone isn’t working, staff can use a site-owned device such as a tablet or site iPhone to scan the QR code and complete the online form.”

Staff information and security was also paramount during this process.

“When we first launched the online screening checks, we received lots of feedback that staff wanted the process more streamlined and less typing to be required,” said Sally.

“What we did was import staff details into the system, which meant that staff members could simply select their name from a drop-down list. We consulted with the relevant teams to ensure that staff identifying details were limited to protect their privacy.”

In addition to regular tweaks and improvements to optimise user experience, such as recently adding a feature for staff to understand the form questions in another language, the Wellbeing Team has been helping sites transition to this new process including hosting online information sessions/Q&As and developing manager and employee user-guides.

Newcastle Linen Service (NLS) was one of the early adopter sites and saw staff quickly and seamlessly adapting to the new online process. Operations Manager Goran Saveski and the team at NLS placed QR codes at different entry stations to avoid a bottle neck and get staff into work more effectively.

“We have check-in QR codes at the front gate, front door, at the bottom of the steps and on the drink fountain,” said Goran. “We also assigned two on-site project managers to help staff learn and test the QR code process before the trial started to ensure a close to flawless implementation process. The staff have been amazing. Together, we can.”

Thank you again to all staff involved in the implementation process and all users who are continuing to provide feedback. It really has been a huge team effort.

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