Nearly $5 million invested in ER app
July 24, 2019
ST. JOHN’S, NL – A joint federal-provincial investment of $4.8 million will support a project at Memorial University that’s testing an app and platform designed to reduce emergency department wait times in Newfoundland and Labrador.
If the project proves successful at saving money, provincial partners have agreed to explore ways to re-invest some of the savings in further health research.
This research is made possible by the Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research (SPOR), a series of funding partnerships between the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, provinces and territories, philanthropic organizations, academic institutions, and health charities.
The $4.8 million investment announced has been jointly funded by the federal and provincial governments, with $2.4 million from CIHR, $100,000 from Trinity Conception Placentia Health Foundation, $1.8 million from Eastern Health, and $500,000 from the Newfoundland and Labrador Department of Tourism, Culture, Industry and Innovation.
The SurgeCon program started as an app developed and tested at the Carbonear Hospital last year by Dr. Chris Patey and Paul Norman. And it proved worthwhile.
The app’s algorithm and protocol helped improve emergency department performance (e.g. door-to-doctor time, number of patients left without being seen by a physician and total patient length of stay), reducing the average wait time from 104 minutes to 42 minutes.
The results of the trial study were recently published in the Western Journal of Emergency Medicine.
Dr. Shabnam Asghari (pictured), lead researcher for the expanded SurgeCon program says that, because of the Canadian Institute of Health Research’s Rewarding Success Initiative, they can now expand on the localized initiative to implement SurgeCon across Eastern Health’s other facilities over the next four years.
“SurgeCon is now a compound intervention that includes an e-health component that uses artificial intelligence to predict overcapacity through real-time emergency department data such as bed availability, average wait times and available resources; a university accredited training program for staff; and a series of quality improvement and patient engagement initiatives to ensure patient-centric outcomes,” said Dr. Asghari.
“Together, the components of the intervention will further improve emergency department efficiency and reduce wait times.”
“Canadians are proud of their healthcare system, and while it gets many things right, we know that there is always room for improvement,” said Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Health. “Health research is one of the keys to unlocking the potential of our health system and services. That is why I commend the researchers who have listened to the priorities of patients in their province and are working to make a difference in their lives.”
“Congratulations to Dr. Asghari and her team,” said John Haggie, Minister of Health and Community Services, Government of Newfoundland and Labrador. “This is the story of two front line clinicians who saw a problem and took the initiative to solve it. This app is a homegrown Newfoundland and Labrador solution that has generated national attention. It has the potential to be used in any acute care facility with an emergency room. We are pleased to join with the Government of Canada to support a project that will have a direct impact on patients and the healthcare sector.”