Facing the future with Scinapse

Posted on 12 March 2020

Mediclinic has embarked on a bold digital innovation journey with Scinapse.

We are in the business of providing world-class, clinical care. Our medical management needs to be efficient, thorough – and we need to put the athletes first.” Dr Darren Green is the medical director at the helm of Mediclinic’s corporate events team. This means he oversees the medical assistance service that Mediclinic and ER24 bring to some of South Africa’s most popular sports events.

It also means he’s at the forefront of some of the most important innovations in race medicine in the world today. The fieldside medical assistance Mediclinic provides is extensive – and expanding.

The Cape Town Marathon is a prestigious event. As the first and only IAAF Gold Label Status marathon in Africa, every aspect of the race must comply with the strictest standards: its carbon footprint must be as low as possible, prize money must be awarded equally between male and female winners, and runners must have access to the best roadside medical care.

The HSBC Cape Town Sevens is another prestigious event. One of the best-attended sports events in the country, last year it expanded further, adding a HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series for the first time, and drawing over 100 000 spectators over three days. In 2019, Mediclinic and ER24 were voted the top medical assistance providers across the HSBC World Rugby Sevens calendar.

These accolades are no accident. Mediclinic’s sports events team has recently taken a bold new step into the future of race medicine by developing an innovative mobile
app that transforms the way doctors, nurses and paramedics track, record and treat patients at large-scale events.

On average, Mediclinic’s events department oversees medical assistance and logistics at about 20 mass participation, extreme sports events across South Africa each year. “These are what we call our Class A events,” explains PN Caroline Murray, Clinical Logistics Coordinator: Mediclinic Southern Africa, who has been a permanent part of the team since 2011. “ER24 provides support at a far larger number of sports events across SA, that require a different mix of skills – but for the Class A events, Mediclinic brings the full field hospital experience.”

That experience is extensive. Mediclinic provides up to 20 nurses and 10 doctors, who operate within a 22-bed, intensive care-equipped field hospital, along with a mobile team of ER24 paramedics.

Now, those experts are equipped with the latest in race medicine technology.

Developed by AUX Studio, Scinapse is a mobile app that records and synchronises patient records in real time, as a race or event unfolds, so that all doctors and nurses along the route may share the same information across the field. In this way, anyone in the team is empowered to provide the best quality service – quickly, efficiently and more accurately than ever – to thousands of athletes as they progress through sporting events.

“Race medicine is an exacting science, and Scinapse gives an innovative way to improve our preparation for mass participation events,” says Dr Green. “It allows us to keep accurate records with the touch of a finger, in a safe and reliable way. It also gives me the opportunity to have an overview of an event in real time.”

Dr Green gives the example of the Cape Town Cycle Tour, another prestigious event. With over 35 000 cyclists tackling 109km, Mediclinic’s doctors and nurses are primed to receive high numbers of patients suffering a range of injuries and illnesses. Scinapse makes that job easier in crucial ways, says Dr Green.

Before the race begins, entrants submit their health information to organisers. As these athletes progress through the race, they pause for rest stops at specific aid stations along the route. When they report any form of injury, illness or discomfort to Mediclinic doctors and nurses, those experts are able to first draw on the information provided – quickly and easily, by engaging with the app on a tablet – and update an athlete’s information if needed.

Every step is recorded: if an athlete was examined, prescribed medication, allowed to continue or withdrawn from the event, it all goes in the patient’s log, says Dr Green.

“This app makes it possible to oversee the progress of a race from a medical perspective. We can see what is happening at different water points, look at the surge capacity at nearby hospitals, and examine what could be any contributing environmental factors, race factors or safety factors that we could address to make the route safer as the race continues.”

By recording and storing clinical data from the race, Mediclinic is equipped to help prevent such complications on the day, and will be empowered to do so at future occasions as well, PN Murray explains. “If we have a picture of conditions and how they affected the runners, we can then know how many athletes are likely to suffer from heat illness, for example, and we can plan accordingly. We can staff the hospital appropriately, and bring the right equipment and medication along as well, as we will have a baseline to work from.”

Patient safety is everything at sports events, says Dr Green, and Scinapse is just one new and exciting addition to the many measures that have been put in place to protect the health and wellbeing of all participants. “By working closely with other emergency service providers, we play a key role in medically supporting these athletes. With the expertise we have on board our team, Mediclinic and ER24 are fully prepared to meet the exacting standards required to treat any condition on the day.”

Published in Cape Epic

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