Global Clinical Network for Infectious Diseases

The first global platform that empowers healthcare organizations to collaborate and improve the diagnosis and treatment of infectious diseases.

Project Overview

Updated May 17, 2024.

The Problem

As COVID-19 cases continue to rise worldwide, it’s challenging for most of us, including medical experts, to stay up on top of the daily updates and new information being circulated on the virus.

All this rapidly changing information has presented a worldwide challenge for hospitals that need to create, maintain and distribute up-to-date treatment guidelines to frontline healthcare providers. The situation is made worse because most health organizations are independently creating guidelines. Multiple health organizations are unknowingly duplicating work being done by others, instead of exchanging current protocols and guidelines.

Each organization is independently reviewing emerging evidence, updating their materials and then delivering guidelines to frontline staff. Unfortunately, those clinical guidelines are sometimes delayed or never delivered.

How We Are Solving It

The Global Clinical Network for Infectious Diseases project is building on Firstline, a clinical decision support platform for infectious diseases. Critical clinical guidance can be shared among hospitals and with frontline staff when information is quickly evolving.
Led by Firstline (formerly Spectrum), the project brings together Alberta Health Services, Enso Strategic and Creative Partners, Horizon Health Network, Massive Change Network, National Collaborating Centre for Infectious Diseases, Nova Scotia Health Authority, Saskatchewan Health Authority, Unity Technologies and Vitalité Health Network.
The network links hospitals to allow them to view guidelines developed by institutions across the globe, access their epidemiological datasets and subscribe to updates. Hospitals can adapt and use those guidelines, and the system can help them communicate with frontline healthcare providers through their mobile devices and computers.
The system also provides hospitals with a real-time feed of emerging evidence, information and guidelines, as well as predictive and research data from other sources. It will also include platforms that enable discussion within the hospital and with other health organizations.
This project will be the first to connect hospitals worldwide, permitting them to pool their knowledge and build guidelines together. That rapid communication and collaboration will reduce duplicated efforts and allow hospitals to focus their resources on efficiently tackling COVID-19 and other medical priorities.

The Result

The creation of this solution has tackled a complex challenge by bringing together a global coalition of infectious disease experts together into one single community. This project delivered the first global platform that empowers healthcare organizations to collaborate and improve the diagnosis and treatment of infectious diseases. The project facilitated the sharing of complex clinical knowledge between healthcare organizations across Canada and the U.S., and delivered meaningful clinical improvements in the treatment of infectious diseases. The solutions developed reduced the time taken by clinicians to create a clinical guideline by 80% (from ~150 hours to ~30 hours).

This technology is now being used to combat antimicrobial resistance (AMR) – named one of the World Health Organization (WHO)’s Top 10 Global Health Threats as estimated to kill 10 million people around the world by 2050. In December 2022, the WHO partnered with Firstline to distribute AMR guidance around the world. The resource, which is freely available and instantly accessible even in resource-limited nations with limited connectivity, is now currently being used in nearly every country around the world. Additionally, the technology is being used by healthcare providers in all United Nations peacekeeping operations.

In May 2024, the Government of Canada announced support for the development and dissemination of national antimicrobial prescribing guidelines for 25 different syndromes in humans. These guidelines will help optimize prescribing practices and reduce unnecessary or inappropriate use of antimicrobials in Canada, which is one of the key drivers of AMR. The guidelines will be developed by The Association of Medical Microbiology and Infectious Disease Canada (AMMI Canada) with dissemination of the guidelines through Firstline’s platform. The announcement is not only a tremendous achievement for British Columbia-led innovation, but a remarkable milestone benefitting people in Canada and around the world with more informed, evidence-based care in prescription guidance.

Project Lead

  • Firstline SpectrumMD

Project Partners

  • UNITY e1632723956926
  • massivechange
  • enso
  • albertahealth
  • saskhealthweb
  • novascotiahealth
  • horizon
  • vitalite
  • fraserhealth@2x e1632889247174
  • nychealth

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