Device assesses risk of falls in patients
September 7, 2022
CHARLOTTETOWN, PEI – An innovative Canadian technology, intended to reduce the risk of falls, is now available locally through a commercialization project being conducted at Health PEI with support from the Coordinated Accessible National (CAN) Health Network. The program uses technology developed by PEI based Stepscan Technologies to identify challenges in a person’s walking or balance function.
For patients, especially those with diabetes, the foot pressure mapping function is able to measure and identify peak pressure points which represent “points at risks” for development of diabetic foot ulcers, offering opportunity for early intervention and prevention of costly diabetic foot complications.
“We are currently accepting all patients for this first of its kind program in the province,” said Andrew MacDougall, executive Director, community health and seniors care, Health PEI. “Not only is this program benefitting patients, but through our work with the CAN Health Network, we are advancing innovation in health services for our patients across the province.”
As a CAN Health Network member – known as Edges – Health PEI works with the Network to identify and introduce Canadian made solutions into the healthcare marketplace, addressing the needs of Islanders in PEI. Through commercialization projects, companies like Stepscan get access to real world environments, support from clinicians to validate their solutions and benefit from the Network’s unique procurement process.
“The Department of Health and Wellness and Health PEI are committed to innovation in health care across the province. This new project will be very valuable in assessing people at risk of falls and in screening for diabetes-related foot conditions. I look forward to seeing how this improves the lives of Islanders,” said Health and Wellness Minister Ernie Hudson.
Based in Charlottetown, Stepscan develops and delivers mobility assessment technology that tracks patterns of mobility, balance and foot pressures as individuals move across the floor.
The company’s core product, branded Stepscan is a pressure sensitive electronic floor tile system combined with proprietary software that capture and analyze the patterns of mobility and balance in subjects as they move across the floor.
In a medical setting, the Stepscan gait and foot pressure measurement technology is used to provide an objective measure of a patient’s walking ability and vestibular (sway/balance) function. By measuring the patients’ foot pressure, stride, speed and progress line in real time baseline measures, level of impairment, and potential treatment options are able to be determined. The Stepscan product is being used in hospitals and clinics internationally in applications ranging from pre-surgery planning and post-operative assessment of children with Cerebral Palsy, stroke rehabilitation, concussion screening and fitting of prosthetic limbs as well as fall risk assessments in support of geriatric wellness and fall prevention.
Stepscan is commercially available and is a registered Class I medical device with Health Canada and the USFDA. It is the vision of Stepscan to make its foot pressure and mobility assessment technology accessible to primary health care providers and the communities they serve everywhere.
Accidental falls are an important public health concern among the elderly, even more so with the aging diabetic population. The Stepscan fall risk assessment and diabetic foot ulcer screening tools being utilized in PEI offer an opportunity for early detection and proactive care of these high-risk individuals.
“At Stepscan our mantra is ‘mobility is the litmus test for healthy aging’ and we look forward to continuing to do our part in supporting the healthy aging of seniors in Canada in the years to come,” said Crystal Trevors, CEO, Stepscan Technologies.
“This is just one of a number of projects we are running in the Atlantic provinces that will have a tremendous impact on the quality-of-care patients receive,” says Jennifer Sheils, executive lead for the CAN Health Network in the Atlantic region and chief information officer at Horizon Health. “There is considerable talent in our region and together the Edges in our Network are committed to being early adopters of great Canadian technology.”
The Diabetes Active Steps for Health (DASH) program uses the Stepscan technology to assist in identifying persons who are at risk for falls, as well as at risk for diabetic foot ulcers. The clinic is located at suite 177 at the Sherwood Business Centre in Charlottetown, and there are travel clinics in Montague, Summerside and O’Leary. For further details, please visit www.healthpei.ca/DASH.