mobile workforce communication, task management & compliance solutions
Mobile workforce solutions

Newsletter November 2018

  Posted on 14 November 2018

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Let's get this show back on the road...

Still waters run deep...

It has been a while since the last edition of this quarterly (ahem) newsletter (sorry). I will do my level best to make this a bumper edition to make it up to you! There are features below on CARPS Auto Allocation Rules, the simple but impressive new DECT walkie-talkie system from Kenwood and most exciting of all, the new-feature-bonanza that is TopCat Version 5.
We have, as always, been keeping busy with clients old and new but we have also been making some important internal developments. Here's some of what's been going on in and around Chez Purcell...

New Kid on the Block
Don't be flustered if you hear a new voice answering your calls, you haven't dialled the wrong number. We are very pleased to have welcomed a new member to our team. Mr Paulo Camacho has joined us in the role of Works Co-ordinator. 

Paulo is not just a pretty face. He comes from a support services background in acute healthcare and has worked hands-on with CARPS for the last 13+ years. His wealth of experience using the system in a busy hospital environment makes him an invaluable member of our team and a fountain of knowledge for any of you looking for practical CARPS tips and advice. His brain is yours to pick.
Welcome Paulo!

Information Security - Our Commitment to Quality 
While getting up to speed with the GDPR in time for the 25th of May was not everyone's idea of a good time, we can all agree that the principles of Information Security that the regulation is designed to enforce are a move in the right direction. We think these principles are so important that we have decided to go a few steps further and undertake ISO27001 certification. This process is still in hand but we are well on way to UKAS accreditation, which will offer you internationally recognised assurance that our processes around Information Security are planned, audited, reviewed, and robust.

"That's a lot of jobs."
We were excited to notice recently that one of our London based CARPS clients passed the million tasks mark in under two years. We are proud to support our client's service provision to what is one of the largest and busiest NHS Trusts in the country. We felt we had to share the news that this landmark had been reached with our client, given that they were likely to have other things to attend to and it may have gone unnoticed. Their response was suitably short and to the point!

Control the Night
A prestigious UK Neurology Centre in the North of England recently started using CARPS with a MotoTRBO Digital Radio System to manage their Portering services. Their typical mode of operation is to have wards and departments book jobs into CARPS themselves, using the Web-Logger application, and for these jobs to be dispatched to Porters by a single Controller, who also acts as a facilities helpdesk.
Although they have a small number of porters working through the night, they have never had a need for 24 hour helpdesk cover. The question was, how could CARPS get jobs booked by wards and departments out-of-hours to the Porters' radios without a Controller on shift?

The answer is CARPS Auto-allocation rules. Although auto-allocation has been a feature of CARPS for a long time, this deployment is the first in the UK that has opted to let them take full control during the night,  and we are pleased that this has been proven to work well for our client. The rules deployed are very simple, with any jobs for the Portering Category going to any Operative that has the rule assigned to them. Tasks are assigned based on who has been available the longest and an operative does not receive another job until they have completed the one they are doing.

The successful use of this simple rule has led our client to consider what else might be possible. Further rules have now been deployed for the weekends, when certain porters take care of all Theatre related jobs. So if a job is booked for the Porters by any Theatre related location, and the day is Saturday or Sunday, that job will be sent automatically to a Porter with that rule assigned. If those Porters are not busy, tasks booked by other departments can still be manually assigned to them by the Controller, as usual. 

It should be noted that the case in point is a relatively small specialist centre, with no A&E department. Auto-allocation rules can be very helpful but we don't think that they should be used to replace a human Controller wholesale in a busy, acute hospital environment. While some task management solutions claim to be "dispatcher-less", we have not come across one that fulfills this promise without some pretty serious caveats.
Auto allocation is a feature which is included as standard in CARPS, meaning that if you are a CARPS user, it won't cost you anything to start using auto-allocation to support your Controller and improve your service, day or night! 

Auto-allocation rules can even be configured according to the time of day. For example, you could have ad hoc waste collection requests go to one Porter between 8:00 and 12:59, then to someone else between 13:00 and 17:59, without the Controller having to do anything except confirm that the correct rules have been assigned to them.

Why not take a look at this document, briefly covering the different task allocation methods that are available in CARPS? Or if you're keen to learn more about how CARPS Auto Allocation Rules work, download this detailed guide or get in touch to discuss what you have in mind. 

TopCat 5: Exciting New Features Available Very Soon!
TopCat Version 5 has been in beta testing at an Australian hospital for some time. We are glad to say that we will be able to introduce upgrades for our own beloved clients very soon, which will make TopCat even more versatile and powerful. Here is a brief look at some of the most interesting and useful new features that are in store:..

Email Integration
TopCat 5 will allow you to add email contacts to be alerted when certain things happen in TopCat. This will include sending reports and rectification requests directly from the TopCat Auditor Android application.

We have our own "Rectification Tasks" integration with CARPS, which allows tasks to created in CARPS for failed audit questions. TopCat 5 will build on this principle with a wealth of features, including:
Rectifications by Email
A Rectification can be sent to the responsible person or group through email. The recipient will be sent a URL to the TopCat Rectification Webpage that will give them all the details of the Rectification. They will then be able to add comments and update the status of the Rectification once they have completed it. These status updates can be monitored in TopCat.
Rectifications Separate from Questions
Rectifications can also be raised separately from any Audit Question/Element. These can be used to
generate Rectifications on a Location that are not directly related to the Audit currently being
undertaken. For example: If an Environmental Cleaning Audit is being undertaken, and damage is discovered on one of the walls, a Rectification can be generated for maintenance to come and repair that damage.
Verifying Rectifications
You will have the option to require Verification for some or all Rectifications. Once the rectification work has been carried out, the status can be updated via CARPS or Email and this will be visible in TopCat Auditor and Controller. If Verification is required, an auditor can visit the location to check the work has been done and update the Rectification's status from "Pending Verification" to "Verified", or "Open - Rejected" if the Rectification has not been completed to the required standard.    

Rectification Reports
A new suite of Reports has been added into TopCat version 5 to report on Rectifications. This will allow TopCat users who do not use CARPS, or the existing TopCat > CARPS integration, to report on rectifications directly from TopCat Controller.

Audit Summary Report
This new report can be generated directly from the TopCat Android Auditor Device and sent off via email. The Report will display how many Audits passed and failed, how many Question Points passed and failed, and the Score percentage for all Audit Locations within a Location Attribute. This could be all Rooms in one Department, for example.
This will effectively allow a group of locations (e.g. within a department) to be treated as a single departmental audit, with the auditor able to access a running total average for the department as they go along. This is a feature that we know some of you are keen to see introduced.

We're sure you will agree that there's lots to look forward to with TopCat 5. If you are a TopCat user, will be in touch soon to discuss the upgrade. If you want more information in the meantime, feel free to get in touch.

All Hands on DECT: Kenwood ProTalk-FD
We were approached by a major North London based TV production studio to provide a simple and convenient voice communications solution for their live production environment. The Kenwood ProTalk-FD WD-K10 Series DECT Intercom System handsets are low profile and lightweight. The transceiver handset is the size of a business card, only 20mm deep and weighs just 118g. What's more, these compact and lightweight portables offer full-duplex (telephone style) hands-free communications, so up to 10 members of a team can join in simultaneous two-way conversations in a natural and unrestricted way. 

The system can operate from either a fixed base station unit, intended as a semi-permanent, or from a portable base station, which is almost identical to the transceivers in size and weight.
The fixed base station option offers audio in/out terminals allowing announcements over broadcasting equipment direct from a transceiver, or intercom communication from the base station in the other direction. Up to 4 Fixed Base stations can be daisy-chained to expand the coverage area.
The Portable Base Station offers a pop-up communications solution pretty much anywhere, without the need to install any equipment or even have access to an AC power supply.

Either setup can be deployed indoors or outdoors. Despite being lightweight, the transceivers are designed to be rugged and offer IP67-equivalent levels of dustproofing and waterproofing. And despite their small size, the transceivers can operate for up to 20 hours on a single battery charge and the Portable Base for up to 8 hours (or 25 hours in transceiver mode).

Our client opted for both the Fixed Base Station and a Portable Base Station. This allows them to make full use of the broadcasting potential of the system while operating in the studio with the Portable Base operating in transceiver mode, but allows them to switch to Portable Base mode, if they are working in a different location, out of range of the fixed Base Station.

You know us as big advocates of fully professional, licenced radio systems as the last word in reliable and efficient voice communications. However, there are plenty of situations when keeping things simple is simply better. For small teams in a range of working environments such as retail, construction, and production; or for charity, sports, corporate or entertainment events, Kenwood's ProTalk WD-K10 Series is an easy-to-use, advanced digital wireless intercom system that provides a flexible, convenient and cost-effective route to high-quality digital communications. 

Our client reports that the production team are all very happy with their new system, which means we're happy too!

Read the full product brochure here or take a look at Kenwood's promotional video for more details.

Thanks for reading...
Don't hesitate to contact us if you have any questions. We'll be in touch again 2019 with more, have a great Christmas and New Year if we don't see you before then.

P.S. If you know anyone you think might like to receive this quarterly newsletter, please forward their name and email address to us. We will confirm their interest before adding them to the list.

Best wishes,
Tom Purcell
Purcell | Business Development

tel: +44 (0)20 7739 8060

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