Healthcare organizations win Ingenious Awards
November 15, 2017
TORONTO – The winners of the 2017 Ingenious Awards, organized by the Information Technology Association of Canada (ITAC), includes two healthcare organizations. OntarioMD was honoured for its provincial eConsult initiative, and Cancer Care Ontario was recognized for its eCTAS electronic Canadian triage and acuity scale.
Moreover, SOTI Inc. was honoured for a platform that enables the secure flow of information for healthcare professionals from mobile devices.
The awards were given at an annual gala that recognizes excellence in the use of information and communications technology (ICT) by organizations in all walks of Canadian life.
The 2017 Ingenious Award Winners in six categories:
- SME/Not-For-Profit: OntarioMD – Provincial eConsult Initiative
- Large Public: Cancer Care Ontario – eCTAS – electronic Canadian Triage and Acuity Scale
- Ingenious Spark Category: Sensibill Inc – Receipt Management & Transaction Insights
- Small Private Sector: Lumo Interactive – Lumo Play
- Medium Private Sector: SOTI Inc – SOTI ONE Platform
- Large Private Sector: PCL Constructors – PCL Project Analytics
- The 2017 CanadianCIO of the Year Award Winners
- Not-for-Profit/Public Sector: Claudio Silvestri, CIO, NAV Canada
- Private Sector: Bruce Ross, CIO, Royal Bank of Canada
The eConsult initiative, currently in pilot phase, connects community-based family physicians to specialists around Ontario for advice. The service makes it easier for doctors to find guidance and supplementary information, and it enables patients to get quicker feedback without having to find a specialist themselves.
“eConsult is meant to be a standardized tool to unify and accelerate engagement between family doctors and specialists not only for their own benefit, but to also improve patient experience,” said Sarah Hutchison (pictured), CEO of OntarioMD. “The real value of this platform is the ability to turn the consulting process around very quickly, reducing patient anxiety and wait time for feedback of what’s next in their healthcare journey.”
So far, eConsult has around 6,000 family physicians using or signed up for the service, Hutchison says, plus 500 specialists representing almost 150 specialties. It has cut wait times for patients down from weeks, months, and even years, to an average of fewer than three days, with the fastest eConsult exchange only taking 49 seconds.
Dr. Martin Lees, primary care and clinical quality lead at Erie St. Clair Local Health Integration Network and Health Quality Ontario, highly recommends the platform, saying eConsult has allowed doctors to “connect quickly with specialists, get answers to empower them to continue caring for their patients, and possibly prevent patients from travelling great distances for a face-to-face appointment with specialists.”
For its part, the electronic Canadian Triage and Acuity Scale (eCTAS) solution from Canada Care Ontario is making emergency room triage more accurate, leading to better patient outcomes.
Triage – the process of sorting patients into levels of urgency – is a difficult challenge for emergency department nurses under pressure. Nurses in Canada use the five-point Canadian Triage and Acuity Scale (CTAS) for making these decisions, but those working at the sharp end of the process must categorize patients under pressure.
Research found an ineffective triage process in which many patients are underserved. In fact, only 37 per cent of patients were appropriately triaged, according to a 2010 Ontario auditor general report on the issue. Of those that were incorrectly categorized, the majority were under-triaged, meaning that they were seen later than they should have been, given their ailments.
In March 2015, the Ontario Health Ministry announced that it was taking on the problem and appointed Access to Care, a division of Cancer Care Ontario, to create a system that would improve triage processes in the province.
The team building the system faced several challenges. The first was the Ontario healthcare system’s technology debt. Its hospitals were using a diverse set of legacy systems that could not be easily integrated. There were 13 different vendors, and almost one in five of the systems were paper-based. They also used different emergency department workflows, with some using a single-stage process and others a two-stage triage model.
It solved this problem by offering its system in three configurations. The first, known as Application Basic, is designed for a hospital with no mature application system, including the paper-based users. These hospitals would install the application directly and use it for the triage calculations.
The second, called Application Complex, was for hospitals that had information systems in place that didn’t cover triage events. These used a triage application to generate a score that would then be sent to the hospital’s own emergency department system using a link. Once opened, this link would populate the legacy hospital system with the appropriate triage data.
The final option, which required more work, saw the CTAS triage algorithms integrated directly into the hospital’s own software. “We’d just certify the fact that they have the same triage brain now built into their system so that they can generate the same CTAS scores,” says Steve Scott, director of the eCTAS program at Cancer Care Ontario.
All these options drew their functionality from an application provided in the public cloud. The team chose to host the application on the Azure cloud, in Microsoft’s public data centre. One of the primary reasons for choosing a cloud-based infrastructure was its ability to handle varying workloads.
SOTI, an enterprise mobility management vendor with a flagship product called the SOTI ONE platform, captured an Ingenious Award by designing a solution for the mobile-first era. One of the unique aspects of the SOTI ONE platform is its ability to work across all major operating systems, including Linux.
“The SOTI ONE platform is special because it looks at mobility as the critical back-end need to solve business challenges – enabling all areas of the business to work and think together with real time data analytics, instant access to critical data, and the secure ability to remotely manage and support workers,” company founder and CEO Carl Rodrigues said.
SOTI also took a long-term approach with customers and developed the SOTI ONE Platform around the emergence of the Internet of Things (IoT). Rodrigues said as IoT continues to grow across various industries, data and network security remains a top concern.
In the healthcare industry, as an example, it is vital that information shared from each IoT endpoint is secured and private. Also, data stored on devices must be protected and patient data transmitted to and from a device must be encrypted.
The SOTI ONE platform was developed to enable a secure flow of information. “This allows healthcare professionals to work efficiently without fear that sensitive information could be compromised, or that they would not be able to rely on their mobile devices within the field – whether in a patient’s home, or within the clinician’s office,” he said.
“Congratulations to the winners of the 2017 Ingenious and CanadianCIO of the Year Awards. The impressive achievements ITAC has honoured underscores the incredible innovation, diversity, and creativity of Canada’s ICT sector that now touches every level of business,” noted Robert Watson, president and CEO, ITAC.
Launched in 2011, the Ingenious Awards program invites nominations from across Canada’s ICT industry, from organizations in the six categories that have realized significant results through the innovative use of ICT.
ITAC is proud to partner with the CIO Association of Canada (CIOCAN) on both the Ingenious Awards Program and CanadianCIO of the Year Awards. CIOCAN together with CanadianCIO Magazine partner to recognize individuals making extraordinary contributions to the evolution of technology in Canada in their capacity as CIO’s in both the public and private sector for the CanadianCIO of the Year Awards.
The Information Technology Association of Canada (ITAC) is the voice of the Canadian information and communications technologies (ICT) industry championing the development of a robust and sustainable digital economy in Canada. A vital connection between business and government, we provide our members with the advocacy, networking and professional development services that help them to thrive nationally and compete globally. A prominent advocate for the expansion of Canada’s innovative capacity, ITAC encourages technology adoption to capitalize on productivity and performance opportunities across all sectors. A member-driven not-for-profit, ITAC serves as the authoritative national voice of the $170 billion ICT industry.