New digital solution allows hospitals to monitor PPE stock and demand

Kuressaare hospital patients transported to the mainland.
Kuressaare hospital patients transported to the mainland. Source: Margus Muld/ERR

A new digital solution will be introduced in Estonia which will enable hospitals and public institutions to monitor personal protective equipment (PPE) stockpiles and demand. The country has enough supplies to last until June, the government said on Tuesday.

The new platform facilitates data collection on the reserves of personal protective gear, as well as predictions of further demand and provides visualized results. It was created during the Global Hack, and initiative founded by Estonians.

Minister of Public Administration Jaak Aab said that the coronavirus crisis has prompted the need to rapidly collect information from various institutions regarding the whole state's supplies of personal protective gear.

A solution was developed as part of the hackathon providing an overview of personal protective equipment stockpiles which is easy to use for hospitals and other institutions, Aab said.

"With this new tool, the state can make its decisions based on more accurate data and deliver a more rapid response," he said.

The platform, which was created by the MASC (Management of Acute Supply during Crises) team led by Kristian Sutt, will be introduced on April 21 and is intended to be used by all public sector institutions.

"We appreciate the work of Kristian Sutt and his team, and I also support their idea to offer the platform to other states," Aab said. "We have agreed with the developers that the database can be supplemented with a prognosis of supply needs in accordance with the situation. For instance, when scheduled treatment resumes, more equipment will be used, which will also be immediately reflected in the needs of treatment facilities."

The creation of the new platform took roughly a week of cooperation with hospitals, local governments and social welfare institutions.

The international tech community at the initiative of Estonians held a hackathon, The Global Hack, on April 9 to 12, which saw over 15,000 participants from around the world take part.

Minister: Estonia has supply of protective equipment until end of May

Estonia has sufficient supplies when it comes to most kinds of personal protective equipment (PPE) to last until the end of May, Aab said at a press briefing on Tuesday.  

Aab said that in reply to the question why Estonia had not established a sufficient supply of PPEs before the crisis, he can answer with absolute certainty that no country was prepared for the situation that arose.

"Therefore, extraordinary measures had to be taken and we have conducted large central procurements in whose framework larger amounts have arrived," the minister said.

During the past three weeks, six million surgical masks, over two million FFP2 respirators, 155,000 FFP3 masks, six million pairs of gloves, 130,000 gowns and 105,000 pairs of protective goggles have been received under state procurements. One aircraft bringing some of the goods is scheduled to land in Tallinn on Tuesday. In addition to that, two more major consignments are to arrive by transport aircraft this week.

"All this is to do with that central procurement whereby we ordered goods from a Chinese supplier. The planes were delayed somewhat, as logistics is difficult and special controls were implemented where time is required for procedures," Aab said, adding that the supply that Estonia has of most PPEs at this point reaches until the end of May.

There are some items with regard to which the state is considering additional procurements, according to Aab. An additional need for equipment may arise due to the resumption of scheduled treatment in hospitals or resumption of schooling in schools.

At the same time, Estonia continues to bring masks by train, which is several times cheaper than air transport. 

Aab voiced appreciation of businessman Kristjan Rahu, who purchased 600,000 surgical masks and 30,000 protective suits for his own money, which on Tuesday will start to be distributed to the frontliners under a distribution plan.   


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Editor: Helen Wright

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