Research & Development
Consortium will apply digital tech to heart failure
December 18, 2019
MONTREAL – Montreal’s innovation professionals have launched a research collaboration called Continuum that will focus on heart diseases, and related issues like diabetes. The project seeks to understand how advanced digital technology can help health professionals and patients suffering from multiple serious medical conditions to jointly manage their treatment plan at home to reduce hospital readmissions.
Continuum will also create an extensive database that could be used by artificial intelligence (AI) in the future to develop further care innovations.
Continuum is being led by the team of Dr. François Tournoux (pictured), a cardiologist and researcher at the Centre de recherche du Centre hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal (CRCHUM).
“Continuum is an innovative program that may change how we provide care for patients suffering from serious chronic diseases,” said Dr. Tournoux. “Our goal is to improve their health, avoid rehospitalization and reduce the use of healthcare resources. This fascinating emerging technology and our multi-faceted partnership can help us reach our goal.”
The project has been developed by CRCHUM in partnership with Greybox Solutions Inc., a Montreal-based innovative business dedicated to providing digital solutions to improve people’s lives; MEDTEQ, a pan-Canadian consortium funded by Quebec’s Ministère de l’Économie et de l’Innovation and designed to fast-track development in tandem with innovative health technology; and Boehringer Ingelheim Canada, a company committed to developing solutions beyond breakthrough medication to improve healthcare and change patient experience.
Heart failure and diabetes are leading causes of hospitalization in Quebec and across Canada, with many patients often needing to return to hospital after being discharged. An important reason for this is the difficulty of maintaining at home the complex medical care these patients need on an on-going basis to manage the many symptoms and potential complications of their conditions.
Continuum will examine how digital technology can support healthcare professionals in managing these complex cases with the patient at home, while keeping treatment aligned with Canadian guidelines for management of heart failure and diabetes. In addition to optimizing care for most patients, the project will seek greater participation by them in their own care and will provide the tools for them to do so.
The first pilot phase of Continuum has been launched at the CHUM and will then be extended to other hospitals across Quebec. The Continuum project has established a rich and diverse ecosystem for patients, clinicians, researchers and technological and pharmaceutical professionals to come together to develop, assess and set up innovative tools for making a difference in the lives of patients suffering from chronic diseases. Partners in this multi-sector project have one goal: improve people’s health around the world with an innovative technological solution.
“Continuum has applied the TAKECARE technology that Greybox has been developing since its inception in 2013,” said Pierre Bérubé, CEO and founder, Greybox Solutions Inc. “We are pleased to know that Montreal-based patients are benefitting from our technology. We are sure that the technology will not only provide better results for patients but also better results for our healthcare system.”
This project takes advantage of the extensive Montreal-based expertise available in the diverse fields involved. It will create a number of new full-time positions in this emerging field of medical technology at both Greybox and the CHUM. Other full-time positions will be created through initiatives related to the partnership.
“The integration of new technologies is increasingly playing a prominent role in medical care and healthcare systems,” said Dr. Fabrice Brunet, CEO, CHUM. “To better meet patients’ and citizens’ needs, it is vital we make use of the potential of technology. With the Continuum research project, we are paving the way with our partners not only to improve complex healthcare but also improve the patient experience and strengthen the partner-patient role.”
More than 600,000 Canadians and 160,000 Quebecers suffer from heart failure, a complex chronic illness characterized by the inability of the heart to pump enough blood throughout the body. Heart failure is a leading cause of hospitalization in Canada and Quebec. Even with a treatment plan, one in five patients (21 percent) hospitalized for heart failure treatment are re-admitted within 30 days of discharge. In 60 percent of cases, the main reason heart failure patients are re-hospitalized is due to other conditions.
The Centre de recherche du Centre hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal (CRCHUM) is one of North America’s leading hospital research centres with a mission to improve adult health. The research continuum focuses on fields such as basic life sciences, clinical research and public health. Over 1,850 professionals work at CRCHUM, including 542 researchers and 719 students and research interns. For more information, visit chumontreal.qc.ca or @CRCHUM.
About Greybox Solutions Inc.
Greybox Solutions Inc. is a growing Montreal-based business specializing in health technology, specifically innovative software development to improve patients’ lives. Its mission is to find digital transformation solutions to meet the many healthcare system challenges and reduce payers’ heavy load with respect to managing chronic illnesses. As part of its digital distribution strategy, Greybox works actively with strategic partners to make integration of electronic medical files and other existing systems easier. Greybox distributes TAKECARE, its digital health platform, to redefine the relationship between patients and its health care team. Greybox has committed itself to integrating with major international IT systems, making a name for itself through its distribution networks, and interfacing with private and public reimbursement processes. For more information, visit greybox.ca.