Sidra Medical and Research Center (Sidra) has launched an app called 'Saffara' to enhance patient experience at the hospital.

“Saffara is the Arabic term for whistle. It functions as an alert for the patients and visitors of the hospital. Saffara is currently in use within Sidra’s pharmacy department and will be expanded to other patient-related services at Sidra,” Dr Deepak Kaura, executive chair - Foundation Medical Services, Sidra told Gulf Times.
“At present there are seven applications that are either in use or will be operational soon. We have developed most of these applications from scratch and by in-house teams. Many of them are very unique that such apps are not available anywhere in the region, even in most Western countries,” Kaura said.
“We developed Saffara to connect people directly with our electronic medical records. It accesses scheduled patients and even those just coming in for a refill. The patients get a text message on their smartphone - for example 'Your medication is ready to pick up or your physician is ready to see you' just before their turn, both in Arabic and English," said Dr Avez Rizvi, division chief - Centre for Medical Innovation, Software, and Technology at Sidra.
“The difference between a vendor queuing system and Saffara is that we can enroll the patients directly. This allows the patients to relax and visit the café or wait comfortably in one of Sidra’s healing gardens instead of waiting in line,” Rizvi said.
“Anyone can contribute an idea – from the janitor to the CEO for developing applications. We have an internal application team that reviews the feasibility of the ideas that are pitched to us,” he said.
The idea for the development of the app was provided by Dr Ben Lee, a physician at Sidra.
Another innovation developed in-house at Sidra is Code Blue, an application for emergency response.
“This is an application to alert the members of a particular clinical team on emergency situations. The alert can be initiated via your smartphone or through a web application. As soon as someone hits the button, it immediately alerts emergency staff via millisecond notifications that will reach all the members of the team,” said the official.
According Rizvi, who was instrumental in designing the application, it can identify when the code alarm occurred and who started it as well as which team members responded to the situation and showed up for action.
“Code Blue is practical for a hospital like setting – particularly during an emergency. With a large hospital like ours, traditional methods might not be possible to inform each member of an emergency team individually and immediately. The app can connect as many members as possible and mobilise them immediately,” he said.
The back-end of the application includes a dashboard which can be used to pick teams, assign members, and on-call statuses. It also allows analytics on how many codes were sent out on a day and what were the responses and so on.