New solution for rapidly screening, managing patients
March 25, 2020
TORONTO – InputHealth, a Canadian healthcare software company known for their Collaborative Health Record (CHR) platform, has signed a contract to supply the Ontario Health West region with a newly devised solution for rapidly screening, triaging and treating patients according to the urgency of their care.
At a time when a wave of COVID-19 cases threatens to crash on caregivers, the new solution, called the Population Health Navigator, is designed to enable a large volume of patients to access care, and for doctors and health system managers to manage patients and deliver health services in a safe and effective way.
“In Canada, we’re still in the early stages of COVID-19, compared with other countries,” said Dr. Puneet Seth (pictured), president of InputHealth and a practicing family physician. “This system is designed for the time when we have a large number of people all trying to access the healthcare system concurrently.”
He emphasized that when the numbers of coronavirus patients dramatically rises, there will still be patients with heart issues, pneumonia and strokes, all of whom will need rapid attention. The software is designed to help decrease the burden on and prevent the healthcare system from being overwhelmed, and to ensure that all patients receive timely, appropriate care.
“Population Health Navigator is designed to flow people through the system as efficiently as possible,” said Dr. Seth.
InputHealth worked closely with healthcare leadership in the London Middlesex area of Ontario, including Dr. Daniel Pepe, Dr. Cathy Faulds and Anna Foat, to rapidly deploy the solution earlier this week. Over 250 doctors have already signalled that they would like to begin using it.
“It’s beautiful to see so many clinicians all saying we should be working together collectively to combat the pandemic. None of this would be possible without the leadership and vision of the team in London-Middlesex, as well as in the Ontario Health West region.”
Built on InputHealth’s flagship Collaborative Health Record technology, the new system has been optimized for managing patients in a pandemic like COVID-19. “This all happened at an unprecedented speed thanks to those who appreciated the need to act decisively,” said Dr. Seth. “It normally takes six months or more for the procurement process alone,” he commented.
“The urgency of the times requires rapid action, and we’re ideally positioned to respond given our existing CHR technology and history in this space,” he said. “The idea is to start with the basics of something meaningful on the ground as soon as possible, as phase one, and to build on this with more functionality as needs evolve.”
The strength of Population Health Navigator is that it allows a single point of access for patients to make an appointment, enter their symptoms and relevant health data, and even conduct appointments virtually, through the portal with caregivers – protecting the health of doctors and other healthcare professionals.
Population Health Navigator additionally has its own “virtual visit” capabilities embedded into it, enabling clinicians and patients to interact with each other when desired, virtually as needed, including real-time chat, messaging, and secure video conferencing. This will be released shortly as a second phase to allow clinicians time to adjust to the basics of the platform.
When used at the outset, the system will triage the patient, directing them to the appropriate type of care, whether it’s to self-isolation, to an occupational health department, or to emergency services. Those that require further evaluation and a medical assessment enter into a pathway where either their family physician or an on-call physician can assess them in a timely fashion.
Importantly, all patients are then tracked on a real-time dashboard, so that no one is left unaccounted for or falls through the cracks. The dashboard provides an “air traffic control” visualization showing which stage certain patients may be at, such as those under investigation (“probable cases”) versus those in home quarantine.
“It gives you a centralized view of the flow of care,” said Dr. Seth. “It’s dramatically different than using a screening tool or a video conferencing service alone. It’s an end-to-end pandemic management pathway.”
Using a geographical information system (GIS) map view, those looking at the bigger picture can see where the patient population with COVID-19 symptoms is growing or shrinking.
Dr. Seth noted the current contract applies to all of Ontario Health West, including Hamilton and all areas west of Hamilton. The company is in discussions to install it in other parts of Ontario, as well as in Saskatchewan, British Columbia and even in South Africa.
At the time of this interview, the system was just being released to patients. Ontario Health West will be promoting it further to patients through various forms of communication and advertising.
For his part, Dr. Seth continues to practice part-time as a family physician in west Toronto, and also in occupational health at the Toronto Western Hospital. The CEO and co-founder of InputHealth, Dr. Damon Ramsey, also works as a general practitioner in Vancouver.
Dr. Ramsey and Shawn Jung (CTO, Co-Founder) started the company in 2011, and have successfully deployed their CHR technology to healthcare organizations across Canada and the globe in an effort to transform how healthcare can be delivered.