Wednesday, September 16, 2020

A team of researchers at University of Limerick have developed an online resource for health professionals to answer questions they may have about COVID-19.

RapidInfo4U is an online and social media based service offering swift responses to those health professionals dealing with the consequences of the pandemic.

The resource is intended to provide support to those with questions about their clinical practice in the context of COVID-19, who may perhaps be overwhelmed with the volume of information available online.

RapidInfo4U Healthcare Repository will answer those questions, saving time for the health professionals in the process.

The project is funded by the HRB under the COVID-19 Pandemic Rapid Response Funding Call and it is managed and developed by a project team who are members of the Health Implementation Science and Technology (HIST) group in the Health Research Institute (HRI), UL, led by Alice Coffey, Professor of Nursing at the Department of Nursing and Midwifery in UL.

The online platform is now launched and individualised support for nursing and allied health professionals - physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech and language therapists and dietitians is now being implemented and evaluated.

Individual clinical questions will be addressed in a timely manner using rapid sourcing and evidence summaries by experienced researchers complemented by experienced clinicians. 

“At the beginning of the pandemic, a national ‘call to action’ to qualified health professionals to support health services resulted in nursing and allied health professionals returning to practice following absence or experiencing re-assignment to different practice areas. In addition, many new graduates entered the health service at this time,” explained Professor Alice Coffey.

“Health professionals are bound by their respective codes of practice and owe patients safe standards of care but this can be challenging in a crisis, especially when professionals may be working outside of their usual scope. These professionals are likely to require additional support to assist their confidence and competence. Within Higher Education Institutes and Professional Bodies, there are vast repositories of knowledge, expertise, and experience that can be harnessed to rapidly support these professionals as they grapple with new or emerging evidence and practice contexts,” continued Professor Coffey.

The project team believe that the RapidInfo4U resource repository will have practical, demonstrable impact on nursing and allied health professionals. For those returning or new to work, or assigned to out-of-scope practice and for professional bodies, RapidInfo4U will be of benefit in the COVID-19 crisis and beyond.

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