App way to track surgical equipment

PHOTO: App way to track surgical equipment

SINGAPORE - A web-based application created by five Temasek Polytechnic students has so impressed the doctors at the Singapore General Hospital (SGH) that it is looking into acquiring and fine-tuning it.

The inventory management system allows the doctors to request equipment for surgery, find out where the tools are, and track other users of the equipment.

"The application has exceeded our expectations. It may need refinement but this is definitely something that we want to pursue," said Dr Aaron Lee, a consultant in the anaesthetic department at SGH.

The students - Ms Jasmine Aw, 23, together with Ms Chua Pei Er, Ms Fiona Chia, Mr Goh Hui Juan and Ms Kimberley Tan, all 20 - are among a batch of business information technology students from the polytechnic who will graduate this year.

Their lecturers helped them to contact the hospital to embark on their final-year project.

At SGH, doctors request for equipment via forms and the paper records can go missing.

The records are also kept in the hospital and inaccessible from home.

"For moveable equipment such as the ultrasound machine, doctors who want to use it have to write their names on a board," said Dr Lee.

"Sometimes, they take the machine away to be used and forget to update the board, and the next user is unable to find the machine," he added.

The students said they were initially intimidated by the medical jargon and their first classification of the equipment into medical categories was mostly incorrect.

But they persevered and the application took shape after six months of work.

Ms Chua said: "We found out what the doctors needed and met that need.

"It was challenging but meaningful and the application can be put to good use."

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