AeroMD uses Smartsheet to manage disaster response and COVID-19 preparedness
Learn how Smartsheet is a key component of AeroMD’s commitment to using technology to improve situational awareness to inform its planning and emergency response.
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"Our experience with the COVID-19 dashboard really forced us to look at our inventory management system in a new way... Because of what we’ve developed specifically for COVID, we’re actually going to employ that for the daily use of all supplies in the future, and give those teams access to these dashboards."
Business Architect, AeroMD
When you’re operating air ambulance transport for the islands of the Caribbean, clear communication and access to information can save lives. Based in the U.S. Virgin Islands, AeroMD along with a strategic aviation partner manage a fleet of fixed-wing air ambulances and skilled medical teams to respond to individual emergencies as well as major disasters such as hurricanes. When the COVID-19 pandemic began to pose a threat to the islands AeroMD serves, the company turned to Smartsheet to manage its inventory and supplies as well as to share health education information and track the spread of COVID-19 cases throughout the region.
Smartsheet is a key component of the company’s commitment to using technology to improve situational awareness to inform its planning and emergency response. From its first sheet organizing the details of its national accreditation to its newest inventory and supply chain dashboards, AeroMD uses Smartsheet to gather key information in a single place while streamlining communication across a wide geographic area.
“Operating in the Virgin Islands as an air medical venture, we need to monitor travel restrictions in the other countries we go to,” says Alex Franklin, business architect for AeroMD. “We need to monitor the status of the medical teams, where our aviation assets are, medical equipment technology, and crew quarters. Before, all of these systems were compartmentalized and independent, and some things were falling through the cracks. So we started putting them together in Smartsheet and created one dashboard so we could see all the information in one place.”
More efficiently tracking medical supplies in a time of need
The threat posed by the COVID-19 pandemic prompted AeroMD to accelerate its effort to more efficiently track and source medical supplies such as respirators and isolation equipment for transporting infected patients. Franklin and his team built an inventory and supply chain dashboard that shows what supplies have been ordered, when they’re due to arrive in a particular location, which items are backordered, when shipments are received, and whether the items match what was actually ordered. Automated alerts and color-coding indicate when items drop below a designated minimum so new supplies can be sourced and secured.
“Our experience with the COVID-19 dashboard really forced us to look at our inventory management system in a new way,” Franklin says. “Because of what we’ve developed specifically for COVID, we’re actually going to employ that for the daily use of all supplies in the future, and give those teams access to these dashboards. Right now it’s in beta; we’re actively using it, but we’re tweaking it every so often with the growth of our other systems.”
Franklin also developed an informational dashboard using data from the Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering, one of the leading sources of reliable worldwide data on the COVID-19 pandemic. He worked with a local engineer to create an API that allows AeroMD to break out JHU data for a more detailed view of the individual islands of the Caribbean. The rich data enables AeroMD to educate staff members and regional partners to ensure that the most accurate and current information guides daily operations.
An easy-to-learn platform that’s beautiful and functional
Key reasons that Smartsheet has been such a valuable resource for AeroMD are that it’s easy to learn, easy to use, and visually engaging for users who need fast access to clear information. Before the current pandemic, AeroMD found that Smartsheet helped streamline responses to natural disasters, including Hurricane Dorian, when emergency crews needed real-time updates on conditions and travel restrictions in the numerous countries they serve.
“Hurricane Dorian was a real eye-opener for us on the rapidity with which you can get a dashboard up and running to create that situational awareness in very dangerous and chaotic environments,” says Dr. Brendan Anzalone, president and chief medical officer of AeroMD. “That’s when communication, or overcommunication, is key. You also want people to pay attention to dashboards, and Smartsheet’s unique because it is aesthetically appealing. Alex has done a tremendous job with making it unique, beautiful to look at, and functional.”