Estonian startup develops a digital PPE stock level monitoring system

An Estonian startup has developed a digital system to monitor the stock levels of personal protective equipment.

When the coronavirus crisis hit, the governments’ need for information on personal protective equipment stock levels and usage grew exponentially to make informed decisions on procurement and distribution, the company, called MASC, said in a statement. “New reporting needs have inevitably resulted in unstructured communication channels and confusing reporting demands, overwhelming everyone involved. Inefficient and overloaded processes contribute to increased error rates on all levels, from frontline reporting to strategic decision-making,” it added.

“Witnessing the brave frontline workers risking their lives every day to keep us safe, my friends and I felt a sense of duty to raise to the challenge and help out in any way possible,” Kristian Sutt, a representative of MASC, said.

MASC’s team during the Global Hack.

In use in over 300 institutions in Estonia

“We put together a team of friends to take part in the Global Hack, a hackathon initiated by Estonians aimed at collecting ideas that would better help us respond to the current crisis. In cooperation with medical staff, municipal government leaders and different ministries, we developed MASC that supports the Estonian government in tracking and forecasting the needs of PPE,” Sutt said. “We hope our solution will provide support to the government and that our team has made a modest contribution to mitigating the consequences of the crisis.”

Sten-Erik Mägus and Kristian Sutt from MASC with Jaak Aab (in the middle), the Estonian minister of public administration.

On 21 April, the Estonian government launched MASC for monitoring the PPE stock and demand in hospitals and other public sector institutions. According to the company, the solution is today used by over 300 institutions in Estonia.

“The solution simplifies the collection of data on PPE inventories, needs and prognosis. The system allows for user-friendly collection of data throughout Estonia and provides clear and compact, visualised results. This helps make fast decisions, concerning distribution plans, as well as new procurements,” MASC asserted.

Vying for a global expansion

The team behind MASC is currently developing a standalone solution and has indicated readiness for global expansion in order to support governments in the fight against the novel coronavirus and is already in talks with the representatives of several nations.

The global product is a “user-friendly platform for standardised and structured data collection, and analysis of PPE stock levels,” the team said. “It’s built on powerful front-end design based on user feedback. As the collection of data needs to be secure, end-to-end encryption is used. For hospitals and other public institutions, MASC offers easy-to-use reporting solutions that users can quickly adopt and become accustomed to. For governments, MASC manages the vast amount of collected data and displays clear information with useful overviews and insights.”

MASC was created during the Global Hack, an Estonian-initiated hackathon that took place 9-12 April and was created to battle the problems we are facing globally amid the coronavirus crisis, as well as creating solutions for the post-crisis world.

Cover: Members of staff at the Kuressaare Hospital in Saaremaa island, Estonia, during the coronavirus crisis. The image is illustrative (Kuressaare Hospital).

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