Software launched to help to hospitals manage ‘soaring oxygen demand’

Software development ‘market-leader’, GlobalView Systems, has jointly developed with IHEEM (the Institute of Healthcare Engineering and Estate Management) what the company dubs ‘innovative new software’ to help hospitals anywhere in the world manage the increasing need for oxygen as they battle with the COVID-19 emergency.

The software – free of charge to use – has been developed in conjunction with specialists at IHEEM in line with Department of Health & Social Care guidance, and incorporates design parameters used in a variety of NHS environments, including the Nightingale field hospitals. Its development follows a letter from NHS England (NHS England, Estates and Facilities Alert NHSE/I – 2020/00, 31 March 2020) sent to all hospitals in England requesting they ‘take action’ to prevent their oxygen supplies running short because of heavy demand, and the risk of their hospitals’ oxygen supply failing altogether.

GlobalView Systems and IHEEM say that the pandemic has led to ‘a massive increase in the use of high flow oxygen therapy’, including masks, ventilators, and CPAP (Continuous Positive Airways Pressure). The simple software suite enables estates and facilities managers to assess the current and likely demand for oxygen in hospitals with inpatient facilities for COVID-19, and to model the most effective way of managing this.

GlobalView Systems said: “The changing landscape and daily fluctuation in requirement make it a challenge to maintain a consistent quantity and supply, given the limitations on the amount of oxygen that existing infrastructures can safely deliver. While there is currently an adequate supply in the UK, increased demand has led to uncertainty of the regularity of delivery, making real-time monitoring and trend analysis essential.”

The software has two key elements:

  • An IHEEM O2 Medical Gas Flow Rate Assessment Tool

While hospital piped supplies are designed based on normal operating scenarios, the COVID-19 emergency has made it increasingly difficult to ensure oxygen requirements can be met across entire hospital estates. The Medical Gas Flow Rate Assessment Tool was developed working with IHEEM’s assessment model. The software provides the ability to assess current piped oxygen gas demand, and allows data manipulation, e.g. the effects of varying the quantity of ventilators, helping hospitals explore likely scenarios incorporating the recommended diversified flow levels as set out by the Critical Care National Medical Director for England. This ‘scenario mapping’ can help hospitals to test the effects of implementing different care models on oxygen demand before applying the most effective method.

  • A Cylinder Gas Monitor and Usage Tool

Hospitals have been asked to consider reducing their piped medical oxygen consumption for ‘less critical departments’ – such as Outpatients’, leading to an increased number of cylinders on site. This tool enables the hospital to simply and quickly understand its current exposure, and explore the impact of potential COVID-19 scenarios. The Estates team can also identify high usage areas, and set thresholds for minimum stock rates to ensure cylinder use is optimised.

Matt Wright, GlobalView Systems’ CEO, said: “The COVID-19 pandemic is applying significant pressure on the hospital infrastructure, and few NHS estate managers are confident that their systems can cope. The increased demand for oxygen, and the age, condition, and complexity of the distribution pipework, can vary enormously in each hospital. We hope our software can deliver clear insight, and that estate managers can see –at a glance – potential exposure, and smooth peaks in demand by changing the model of care, such as by increasing the use of cylinder oxygen in other areas of the hospital.”

Walsall Manor Hospital was among the first to use the new software. Its Estates and Facilities team sought ‘a simple but effective solution’ to manage and predict the hospital’s cylinder gas levels, which could be rapidly deployed utilising its existing Microsoft software. GlobalView provided the team with software that features a real-time dashboard with an at-a-glance view of current stock levels, which departments have the largest demand, and week-on-week trends to help plan for future demand.

Andrew Williams, the hospital’s Estates and Facilities Project manager, said: “GlobalView has risen to the challenge in record time, and I now have access to all the data I need, quickly and simply.”

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