ReSTART: Post-COVID Surgeries and Medical Procedures
A digital solution to help clear Canada’s surgery backlog.
Updated March 31, 2023
One of the most daunting health challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic isn’t just the virus. The health of many Canadians has been put at risk as surgeries have been delayed as hospitals and ICUs focus primarily on COVID patients.
The backlog of elective surgeries and other medical procedures, such as endoscopies and chemotherapy, is estimated in the hundreds of thousands across Canada. It could take years to clear the backlog, even by performing more surgeries than before the crisis.
How We Are Solving It
The ReSTART project aims to help tackle the backlog through an end-to-end digital solution that can more effectively manage surgical services. Led by SeamlessMD, the project brings together Xerus Medical, Excelar Technologies, AltaML, Sinai Health, Unity Health and Toronto East Health Network.
Through the new application, patients can remotely complete preoperative assessments, COVID-19 screenings and access educational content on how to prepare for their surgery. Patients can also access recovery resources and continue reporting their symptoms after their surgery. This physically distant process reduces their risk of COVID-19 infection. The data will be available for the medical professionals to review securely via an online dashboard. The machine learning incorporated into the system will use health record data to predict cancellations, readmissions and emergency visits and help forecast the urgency and prioritization of cases.
Clinicians and administrators will also be able to look at analytics, dashboards and reports from the program that will indicate potential improvements. It can boost efficiency in tackling the backlog, showing the main reasons patients face cancellations or readmissions.
Post-pandemic, the solution will help strengthen virtual clinics and health professionals will be able to review the data to decide whether face-to-face meetings and assessments are required. Fewer patients will be in waiting rooms queued for unneeded consultations. The system will also help ensure the sickest patients are well prepared for their surgery day, resulting in fewer day-of cancellations. Patients will also benefit from a better discharge process, where better recovery self-management and monitoring will reduce readmissions and emergency visits.
This project developed an end-to-end digital solution that effectively manages surgical services by allowing patients to remotely access and complete preoperative assessments, COVID-19 screenings and educational content on how to prepare for their surgery. The system uses health record data to predict cancellations, re–admissions and emergency visits, and help forecast the urgency and prioritization of cases. During the pilot, over 2,500 patients at five hospital sites across Ontario were enrolled into the ReSTART surgery platform with the platform boasting 90% patient satisfaction/recommendation and around 25% of patients reporting the avoided at least one phone call or visit to the hospital by enrolling into the program.
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