December 14, 2020 (Hamilton, ON) – Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) is test driving a new Canadian smart patient notification and queue-management technology aimed at keeping patients safely distanced, and to monitor and manage appointments at two HHS Hamilton General Hospital clinics during the rise in COVID-19 cases in the city.
The platform designed by Toronto-based Verto Health (Verto) creates a near real-time connection between clinics and patients, allowing patients in HHS Cardiac Devices and Orthopedic Clinics to receive email and text message reminders including the date and time of appointments, clinic location, and post-visit surveys. Links to general hospital announcements and visitor guidelines can also be shared. The platform is integrated with the hospital’s existing system and is used by a number of different end-users including clerical staff, x-ray technologists and nurses to manage patient flow throughout the clinics. Links to general hospital announcements and visitor guidelines can also be shared. The pilot aims to test the feasibility of using this solution at HHS to improve efficiency and safety, and obtain feedback from patients on receiving these type of reminders.
“This project is extremely timely given the pandemic,” says Dr. Ted Scott, vice president of research and chief innovation officer for HHS. “It’s an excellent example of our staff’s willingness to learn and test drive new technology with the goal of providing the very best, safest patient care.”
Since the spring, thousands of patients have missed medical appointments because they were concerned about entering the hospital during the pandemic. While hospitals are safe places for patients to visit and have extensive safety precautions in place, this technology may help patients by reminding them of their appointments and providing information on visitor guidelines at HHS during the pandemic.
This made-in-Canada commercialization project is funded by the Coordinated Accessible National (CAN) Health Network, a federally-funded program focused on growing Canadian solutions, and supporting companies to scale across the Canadian marketplace, while strengthening the health care system.
“Since the pandemic began, Verto has seen many ambulatory clinics really wrestle with how to best manage safe patient flow in a COVID-19 world. Their first priority is always to keep patients safe, but they also want to minimize patient wait times and backlogs, which is a difficult balance to manage manually. Verto’s virtual solution is designed to help optimize safe patient flow, while reducing the amount of manual administration and improving patient engagement and the patient experience,” says Michael Millar, CEO of Verto.
The system is based on Verto’s Digital Twin technology, that quickly and cost effectively connects to multiple health system data sources, providing access to the relevant data for the care step the patient is in, making it significantly easier to coordinate care, especially for patients with complicated care paths. It is just one feature of a system that can be configured to meet the needs of any health organization. In addition to this project with HHS, Verto is working with Unity Health Toronto, another CAN Health Network Edge, to streamline consent management and the patient experience across their three hospital sites.
Over the course of the CAN Health project, HHS and Verto will work together to fine tune the technology to ensure it works for patients and staff.
“COVID-19 has expedited the rate at which our health care system is adapting technology,” says Dr. Dante Morra, Chair of the CAN Health Network. “Our goal is to provide health care organizations with access to tested technology that will ultimately improve patient care and enable Canadian companies to succeed at home and abroad.”
“These last few months have shown us just how critical health technology is to keep Canadians safe,” says the Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade. “I’m thrilled to see that the CAN Health Network – the integrated market our government launched last year – has led to another great innovation: a queue management technology that will help patients stay distanced and stay safe. Thanks to Verto Heath and Hamilton Health Services for launching this new platform that will help provide better care for Canadians in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“Thanks to the support of the CAN Health Network, this is an example of homegrown innovation and collaboration that will be able to keep Canadians connected, safe, and healthy during this challenging time,” said The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario.
“HHS has a culture of Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI), making our organization ideal for this kind of pilot,” says Scott. CQI is a management system launched in 2016 that empowers front-line staff to find solutions to everyday issues. “We are committed to supporting innovation across our organization through digital solutions and improvements.”
ABOUT HAMILTON HEALTH SCIENCES
Hamilton Health Sciences is a hospital system of 15,000 staff, physicians, researchers and volunteers that proudly serves south central Ontario residents. We also provide specialized, advanced care to people from across the province.
HHS is the only hospital in Ontario that cares for all ages, from pre-birth to end-of-life. We offer world-leading expertise in many areas, including cardiac and stroke care, cancer care, palliative care and pediatrics.
ABOUT VERTO HEALTH
Verto Health is a team of passionate healthcare informaticians and technologists using digital twin technology to revolutionize interoperability, health delivery efficiency and cross-sector
collaboration with the ultimate goal of dramatically improving patient outcomes and the patient experience, all while significantly reducing administration and healthcare organization costs. To learn more about Verto Health, visit https://verto.health/.
ABOUT CAN HEALTH NETWORK
The CAN Health Network is a Canada-first approach to technology adoption. It helps break down barriers to scaling in the healthcare system and provides an environment for companies to scale to their full potential. It was created in July 2019 with a $7-million investment from the Government of Canada to start the network in Ontario, through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), and in the West, through Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD) with planned expansion to the East, Quebec and the North to come. To learn more about the CAN Health Network, visit www.canhealthnetwork.ca