Bruyère acquires new patient transfer devices
March 1, 2023
OTTAWA – To reduce the hazard of staff strain and injury, and to promote patient safety, Bruyère has ordered four units of an innovative new patient transfer device created by Canadian company Able Innovations. The ALTA Platform is designed to safely transfer a patient laterally from one surface to another, with only one staff member, thereby reducing the risk of injury to frontline staff and providing a better and more comfortable patient experience.
Paula Doering (pictured), senior vice president of Clinical Programs, chief nursing executive and allied health professional at Bruyère, explained that because lateral transfer of patients happens daily, over the course of a career, a staff person cumulatively moves thousands of pounds. In the worst-case scenarios, an injury or strain can lead to long-term disability that, in some cases, results in staff members leaving the field.
“This pilot was about evaluating ALTA’s ability to make patient transfers effortless, less time consuming, and safer for everybody, so our staff feel supported and can focus on caring for patients,” said Doering. “When we face staffing pressures, the ALTA Platform is a game changer.”
Since June 2022, Able has been validating the effectiveness of its ALTA Platform at Bruyère in Ottawa.
“The success of this project has hinged on the continued transparent feedback we’ve had from clinical staff, patients, and researchers,” said Jayiesh Singh, co-founder and CEO, Able Innovations. “We had insights into the nuances of the problem very early on in the process, which has been a critical part of ensuring our designs are practical and easy to use.”
The project is a collaboration between Able Innovations, Bruyère, AGE-WELL and OBIO’s Early Adopter Health Network (EAHN). “We received funding from AGE-WELL and OBIO’s EAHN to co-champion a full-scale study on the safety of the ALTA Platform,” said Jayiesh.
“Support from our ecosystem partners has been essential, with AGE-WELL providing crucial support in our early development, followed by significant support from OBIO to commercialize,” he added. “Our solution was shown to alleviate the need for significant effort involved in transfers, while providing patients with a superior experience compared to conventional methods.”
Jayiesh and his co-founder, Philip Chang, have a strong background in the scale-up and development of robotic technologies, and are passionate about using technology for good. Together they have launched and developed numerous smart technologies. However, it was his many years of exposure in long-term care homes through volunteering and witnessing the injuries and challenges his mother faced that led him on a quest to help the elderly and care-staff alike. In 2018, he set out to make a difference.
“Today’s method of patient bed transfer can be uncomfortable for the patient, risks injury, and requires multiple frontline staff,” said Jayiesh. “There was room for innovation. We aimed to develop a solution to address patient transfers in all healthcare settings, focusing on lateral transfers.”
The ALTA Platform focuses on the patient experience, and on the health of the frontline worker. Because the transfer process is contactless from start to finish, it also reduces the possibility of infection.
The project’s positive results led OBIO’s EAHN to provide additional funding to Bruyère to support the procurement process for several ALTA Platforms. Bruyere’s procurement of the ALTA Platform will now be leveraged across EAHN™ to accelerate broader adoption of this innovative technology in the health system.
“Through EAHN, OBIO provides Canadian technology companies like Able Innovations with a clear pathway to technology adoption in our healthcare system,” said Dr. Maura Campbell, president and CEO of OBIO. “Patients and providers at Bruyère will now benefit from this innovative, homegrown technology.”
Able Innovations has several key investors including Champion physicians Dr. Gaurav Puri, chief of emergency at Southlake Regional Health Centre in Newmarket, and Dr. Andrew Vellathottam, an occupational therapist, and NorthSpring Capital Partners. National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP) and FedDev Ontario are also significant contributors.
Aside from Bruyère, Able is working closely with leading hospital systems in Canada and the U.S. such as University Health Network (UHN) in Toronto, and the Veterans Health Administration (VA) in the USA. These partners have shown a keen interest in establishing a new standard of care in patient handling.
“Since our product focuses on quality of care, we’ll be seeking partners and customers where our technology would most benefit patients and frontline staff,” said Jayiesh.
About Able Innovations
Able Innovations is a robotics company developing technology that allows front-line healthcare staff to do-more-with-less. Able’s ALTA Platform automates one of the most labor-intensive tasks in healthcare – patient transfers. Now more than ever, facilities are drawn to the value Able can provide and see ALTA as a tool to protect and help retain staff. To learn more, visit www.ableinnovations.com.
Bruyère provides a wide range of health services within its hospitals and long-term care facilities in Ottawa. As an academic healthcare organization, Bruyère specializes in care of the elderly through rehabilitation, palliative care, brain health, and complex continuing care. The Bruyère Research Institute supports investigators who contribute to a better, more responsive healthcare system that delivers the best care to patients, residents, and families. Visit www.bruyere.org.
Founded in 2009, the Ontario Bioscience Innovation Organization (OBIO®), a not-for-profit, membership-based organization dedicated to advancing health technology innovation and commercialization, is prioritizing the evaluation and adoption of new technologies through their Early Adopter Health Network (EAHN™). OBIO® is engaged in strategy, programming, policy development and advocacy to further the commercialization of human health technologies, positioning Canada as a leader in the international marketplace. Visit www.obio.ca.
AGE-WELL NCE Inc. is Canada’s Technology and Aging Network. The pan-Canadian network brings together researchers, older adults, caregivers, partner organizations and future leaders to accelerate the delivery of technology-based solutions that make a meaningful difference in the lives of Canadians. AGE-WELL is funded through the federal Networks of Centres of Excellence program. Visit https://agewell-nce.ca.