Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a degenerative lung condition that, in Canada, is most commonly caused by long-term use and exposure to tobacco smoking and is a prevalent condition in the Kingston region.

Currently, thousands of patients with COPD seeking urgent and emergency care place a significant demand on the emergency department at Kingston Health Sciences Centre’s (KHSC) Kingston General Hospital site. In order to deliver better care in a more patient-centred and convenient way for those with COPD and their caregivers, while also curbing costs and the volume of patients with COPD in the hospital environment, KHSC looked for novel, community-based health solutions. Reducing frequent emergency rooms visits and readmission of patients with COPD reduces patient risk in developing secondary complications such as respiratory tract infections while also reducing ER overcrowding.

In looking to identify innovative solutions, KHSC led an Innovation Procurement – a new approach to procure outside of the traditional process – through an opportunity with the Resources for Evaluating, Adopting and Capitalizing on Innovative Healthcare Technology (REACH) Program.  The REACH Program, delivered by Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) supports Ontario health care provider organizations to utilize innovation procurement methodologies to more effectively procure and adopt innovative health care technology products and services.

Using both early market engagement strategies and the Innovation Partnership approach, KHSC was able to refine a problem statement, “Reduce the frequency of ER visits caused by acute exacerbation of COPD by managing patient care in the community” and develop the required Outcomes Based Specifications [OBS] to identify solutions in the marketplace. As a result of the procurement process, Cloud DX was selected as KHSC’s innovation partner. Cloud DX’s solution can gather key vital signs including weight, blood pressure and pulse oxygen from patients at home on a daily basis. Clinicians can monitor these vitals and look for patterns that might suggest the health status of the patient in real-time.  A formal pilot of Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) at KHSC is now underway.  This pilot is an opportunity to examine the feasibility of utilizing this tool to reduce the frequency of ER visits caused by COPD.

“The REACH Program provided an opportunity for KHSC to embark on a novel journey in innovation procurement, which has been a tremendous learning opportunity for our organization and for all involved with the project,” said Dr. Michael Fitzpatrick, Chief of Staff and Vice President of Medical & Academic Affairs, KHSC.

Through the REACH grant, the project was able to obtain the expertise of a full time Project Manager, part time Business Analyst, Innovation Procurement Specialist and 3SO Procurement Specialists, in addition to clinical experts, which created a synergistic collaboration of business and healthcare expertise. In addition to successfully achieving the innovative procurement objective, the funding helped KHSC create two sub-initiatives (i.e. Knowledge Dissemination related to innovative procurement and a Pilot Project with the product of the innovative procurement process) which will be planned and implemented. Likewise, the expertise shared by OCE staff contributed in further augmenting the value of this elaborate project.

The high-level innovation procurement concept has now been tested on the ground, step-by-step and has resulted in the creation of an innovation procurement blueprint for KHSC and the South East region, which can be leveraged and replicated by others in the future. 

Cloud DX is honored and excited to be selected as the Innovation Partner to Kingston Health Sciences Centre for this project. We believe that this deployment of our award-winning Connected Health platform will make a real and lasting difference to the health outcomes of COPD patients in the Kingston area and hopefully in all of South Eastern Ontario. This procurement joins the commercial relationships that Cloud DX now has with Markham Stouffville Hospital and Yukon Health Services as the third major Canadian deployment of Connected Health for COPD in 2019 thus far. This is evidence that the long-awaited roll out of digital healthcare for chronic disease management in Canada has arrived.” said Cloud DX Founder & CEO, Robert Kaul

“Increasing community care and decreasing overcrowding in Kingston Health Sciences Centre’s emergency department through the procurement of CloudDX technology is a great step toward solving hallway healthcare,” said Claudia Krywiak, Interim President and CEO, Ontario Centres of Excellence. “This will allow healthcare providers to give better and more innovative care while encouraging efficiencies in the healthcare system.”

“Through this innovative procurement we were able to search out the best solution to help clinicians best manage those living with COPD.  The process moved past just considering price and product and let us explore the value the solution provided to patients.”   said Paul McAuley, CEO 3SO

“The COPD innovation procurement project has created an opportunity to increase awareness and capacity for this novel procurement approach. Through the design of evidence-based continuing professional development initiatives, this project leverages healthcare innovation to better address the needs of patients in Ontario. Our team believes that this project advances the quality of healthcare while finding efficiencies in complex systems.” (Dr. Nancy Dalgarno, Director, Education Scholarship, Office of Professional Development and Educational Scholarship, Faculty of Health Sciences, Queen’s University)