Health technology company Infonaut, a MaRS client, announced it has signed a contract with the University Health Network to test its real-time disease surveillance system, Hospital Watch Live, at Toronto General Hospital. Designed to assist hospitals in controlling and stopping the spread of infectious organisms, Hospital Watch Live has been installed on the multi-organ transplant unit, an area of the hospital where all of the patients are on therapies to prevent organ rejection, which also suppresses their immune systems.
Response from staff on the unit has been enthusiastic because they believe that the data generated by the system will help them increase hand hygiene compliance, track equipment throughout the unit, respond to infectious disease outbreaks, conduct studies on techniques to increase quality and better protect staff from exposure to infections. This work should also reduce overall costs to the hospital.
“There are universally accepted techniques and methods of disease surveillance and infection control based on an understanding of ‘history of location’ and ‘transmission,'” says Infonaut CEO Niall Wallace. “Infonaut is the only system that automates and applies these techniques inside the hospital to save money, save lives and create a new gold standard for safety and quality that is driven by evidence and analytics.”
Easily integrated into existing hospital systems, Hospital Watch Live follows and records – in real time – the movement, contact and interaction of patients, employees and equipment, helping everyone on the unit understand and break the chain of transmission. When combined with preventative action from staff, this knowledge helps reduce hospital-acquired infections, saving lives and reducing hospital costs. It also provides instant, risk-rated contact tracing, with predictive analysis of patterns and disease reservoirs.
“The prevention of hospital-acquired infections is the result of many strategies,” said Dr. Michael Gardam, Director of Infection Prevention and Control at University Health Network. “I’ve seen a lot of systems that can help us with this work and Infonaut’s Hospital Watch Live is particularly interesting because staff can follow the data each day and track a number of possible sources of infection. We’re very focused on everyone washing their hands, but we also know that infection travels on equipment, so this system gives us the benefit of being able to track a number of things and feed that data back on a daily basis.”
This project was made possible with funding from Infonaut, Canada Health Infoway and UHN.
“Leveraging innovation to help curb transmission of infectious diseases such as C. difficile has the potential to improve patient outcomes,” said Richard Alvarez, President and CEO, Canada Health Infoway. “We are pleased to have invested in the Hospital Watch Live initiative and look forward to learning more about its potential to add clinical value by protecting patients and employees from hospital-acquired infection.”
“The data collected will be anonymous,” said Dr. Gardam. “It will provide information to the unit and analysis of patterns of movement which will be fed back to all staff who will then take the lead to make to further reduce hospital-acquired infections.”
Hospital Watch Live was designed from the ground up with respect for privacy. Infonaut believes that respecting the ethical use of clinical surveillance tools and making a strong commitment to the Privacy By Design philosophy will ultimately make our approach to preventing and controlling hospital acquired infections more successful.
“I applaud this new initiative to proactively embed the principles of Privacy by Design into the design of Infonaut’s information systems, right from the outset,” said Dr. Ann Cavoukian, Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario, Canada. “By anticipating privacy-invasive events, they can be prevented, before they arise. This ‘positive-sum’ approach will benefit multiple parties – hospitals, health-care workers, and most importantly, patients.”
“Bringing a game-changing, innovative product like Hospital Watch Live to market has required the full spectrum of entrepreneurial skills,” said Peter Adams, Senior Health IT Business Advisor at MaRS. “We’re thrilled to have supported Infonaut throughout this complex, iterative process and delighted with the company’s well-deserved success.”