Review: BASICS Scotland Smartphone App

A few years ago I downloaded the BASICS Scotland App.  Offering the ability to record patient demographics, observations and interventions in real time on a smartphone seemed like a useful idea.

Initially, however, the app proved to be a bit buggy… and the only way of sending on the information was in a difficult-to-understand stream of text in an email.  It was a good first effort, but it wasn’t quite reliable enough for retaining vital information and the end result was a report that needed some time to decipher.  The app occasionally crashed, for example when entering a patient’s BM.

Things have changed, however, and I recently tried using the updated version on a number of calls.  I’m pleased to have discovered that the bugs have resolved, and the Patient Report Form (PRF) generated at the end is much easier to follow.  Patient data is now exported into a well-formatted Adobe PDF file.  This can be emailed directly from the app, to BASICS Scotland and to your NHSmail address.  In fact it can be sent to any email address, but the sensible advice is to use a secure system such as NHSmail.

Importantly, the app does not need connectivity at the time of use – using it in a typical rural area with limited or no connection will not pose any difficulty, and information can be easily stored until you get to an area that offers a connection with which to email the completed data.

Why are the PRFs important?

View a sample PRF PDF

It is vital for BASICS Scotland to get feedback from any BASICS calls, and unfortunately there is a relatively low completion rate.  Information about emergency calls helps to inform future training, contribute evidence of the value of BASICS Scotland care, and keeps the Sandpiper Trust informed and enthused about providing ongoing equipment support to responders.

Of course, you can still use the paper forms (just contact BASICS Scotland if you need any) and post them back to the office.  Some responders will prefer to continue (or start!) to use these… however with the latest app improvements, you might find it easier than ever to quickly submit a PRF at the end of a job: both for your own medicolegal and appraisal records, as well as providing this vital feedback to the BASICS Scotland office.

 What else does the app do?

As well as enabling PRF data collection, and collating this into an easy-to-read PDF document, the app contains a wide range of useful resources such as contact details, a ‘find my local hospital’ for any responders who are less familiar with their patch (or perhaps providing locum cover), clinical procedure guides, an equipment checklist and direct access to the BASICS Scotland training videos – which cover everything from cricothyroidotomy, ALS algorithms and use of a pelvic sling.

Opportunistic learning has never been more important, and as busy GPs, paramedics or nurses, having all this information and learning material to hand is a big step forward for responder support.

The app is free to member responders, and the initial download can be obtained from the BASICS Scotland website.  It is available for iOS and Android platforms, and updates are automatically pushed to your phone.  The office will help if you have any difficulties logging in or setting up the app.

What was that about low completion rate?

We know that responders are busy professionals.  However, BASICS Scotland really needs decent feedback to ensure it learns effectively from the calls that responders are attending: details help to inform future training content, clinical governance support and kit development.  PRFs should, ideally, be completed for calls – including emergency calls that might initially bypass Ambulance Control, which is a common scenario in more rural areas.  The PRF form allows accurate recording of pertinent call details for medicolegal purposes and personal audit, but also shapes what equipment is rolled out to responders by the Sandpiper Trust.

Pads of PRF forms are easily available by contacting the BASICS Scotland office – or as the article above highlights, can be quickly generated from data entered to the BASICS responder app.

Whilst we’re on this topic – did you know that BASICS Scotland can arrange helpful bag checks via phone or videoconferencing?  An experienced member of the BASICS team can remotely go through your kit check with you, and make immediate arrangements for replacement of expired or missing stock.  To arrange this, simply contact the office directly.

If you’d like to take a look and download the app for yourself, visit this section of the BASICS Scotland website.

Enter patient observations here (can be done multiple times under different time stamps)

Some of the different sections of the electronic PRF.

Sample PRF generation within the app

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