Country and Outback Health protect lone workers with smartphone app even in isolated areas with poor signal
Regional primary health care organisation, Country and Outback Health (COBH) use the StaySafe app and cloud-based monitoring hub to ensure their employees, including their community nurses and other community workers, are safe when visiting clients alone.
COBH was set up by the Australian Government to better organise and manage local front-line health services. They run Partners in Recovery (PIR) which offers personalised mental health support to individuals across a vast geographical footprint and over isolated Outback areas.
Working alone in roles that include closed-door situations and periods of travel, means that PIR staff are more vulnerable to certain safety risks. These risks include aggressive behaviour, hostage situations and road accidents, all of which are unpredictable and sometimes difficult to control.
The StaySafe app is used by PIR staff to monitor their location via GPS and alert their managers if they do not check in or send an alert via the app. COBH implemented the solution to ensure that PIR staff are safe when working in the community and travelling between appointments, and help can be sent should something go wrong.
However, one of the challenges COBH and many other businesses operating in and around the Australian outback face is low signal. Fortunately, the StaySafe app has been developed to automatically switch to using 2G connectivity in areas where 3 or 4G signal is not available. Utilising 2G allows the app to send notifications to the monitoring hub via SMS text and significantly extends the geographical reach of the app.
If a 2G signal is not available, rather than a session terminating and an employee being lost on the system, the app automatically relocates them each time they come back in range. This means that if an employee goes through a signal black spot COBH knows how long they have been out of range and when they would expect them to be back online. If they do not reappear, they can send help to their last known coordinates along with an accurate time frame for how long they have been missing.
Zieco Skeldon, Assistant Manager, Partners in Recovery explains:
PIR staff work in the community in country areas north of South Australia with a vulnerable and often disengaged target group and so we needed a way to monitor staff safety.We chose StaySafe because it was the only solution we found in the market that combines all the key safety features out there into one product and offers us a fallback if employees’ phones go out of range.
In particular, we like the way that staff start and end their own sessions so they are in control. The ‘add a note’ feature means we know exactly what the employee is doing during the session and allows us to use the app for monitoring travel between locations as well as home visits. The GPS tracking within the Hub is great because it means we can accurately locate employees if they trigger an alert or fail to end their session when expected.
For organisations who operate for long periods in remote signal areas, the StaySafe app is also compatible with Inmarsat’s satellite network, which gives 99.9% global coverage.
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