Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a leading cause of acute hospitalizations in Canada, and the only chronic disease with rising mortality rates. Despite evidence that shows pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) is associated with improved quality of life and a 56% reduction in hospital readmission when started within 30 days post discharge, less than 1% of patients with COPD access these programs.

To tackle these issues, Dr. Natya Raghavan developed a care pathway within the Firestone Institute for Respiratory Health (FIRH) Respiratory Rehabilitation Day Program at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton (St. Joe’s). With the support of leading biopharmaceutical company, Boehringer Ingelheim (Canada) Ltd. and the Ontario Centre for Innovation, they teamed up with Aetonix – an Ottawa-based digital health company that develops easy to use virtual care platforms to provide telehealth, care pathways, and remote patient monitoring for patients and clinicians. Through this collaboration, St. Joe’s is offering a 10-week virtual rehabilitation program that targets patients with COPD to improve quality of life, physical activity, and self-management, while also reducing the risk of hospital readmission and emergency department visits.

To further enhance the adoption and usability of this virtual rehabilitation program, St. Joe’s launched a CAN Health Network commercialization project to establish the first HL7 integration between Epic and Aetonix. The Epic integration ensures that patient demographics, appointment information, and health data are shared seamlessly and securely between Aetonix and Epic, reducing documentation errors and manual transcription of information in both systems. Importantly, this innovative HL7 integration can be leveraged by other Canadian hospitals using Epic within their organization.

Patients admitted to hospital with a COPD exacerbation will be eligible for this 10 week program where they will receive:

  • An Aetonix tablet and oximeter to use for the duration of the program.
  • Virtual exercise sessions with a physiotherapist twice a week.
  • Prompts to complete independent exercises.
  • Prompts to independently review educational content developed by the team at St. Joe’s.
  • Virtual touchpoints with a COPD educator to reinforce educational learnings.

Overall, this program will expand capacity and provide increased access to PR within 30 days of discharge, significantly improving health outcomes for patients with COPD and decreasing hospitalizations.

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Type of Technology
Virtual Rehabilitation Solution with Epic Integration
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Project Year
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