Durham College today announced that its state-of-the-art Biomedical Knowledge Portal (BKP) is now live at two Ontario community hospitals after being implemented at Lakeridge Health Oshawa (LHO) on May 22 and Ross Memorial Hospital (RMH) in Lindsay on June 25.
Developed in conjunction with the college’s Office of Research Services and Innovation (ORSI), and lead by principal investigator and Biomedical Engineering Technology program professor Rick Tidman, the BKP is an all-inclusive health technology management system designed to assist hospitals in achieving considerable cost savings on an annual basis by enabling them to manage the purchasing and life cycle of their biomedical devices more efficiently and effectively.
It is also intended to support patient safety through the tracking of biomedical devices to ensure they are available at the point of care. Health-care workers type the name of the device (e.g. IV pump, bladder scanner, wheel chair, stretcher, etc.) they are trying to locate into a search bar and information on the device, including its location, is provided immediately, reducing the amount of time spent locating equipment.
“It is arguable that the growth of and dependency on medical technology is one of health care’s biggest challenges, but medical technology also offers unprecedented opportunities for improved health outcomes,” said Tidman. “The BKP squarely takes aim at organizing and sharing information associated with the entire life cycle of a technology and could optimize medical device decisions at shared services organizations, hospitals and Local Integration Health Networks (LIHN), to the benefit of both taxpayers and patients.”
First created in April 2011 via a research collaboration between Durham College and software development and IT consulting firm Dapasoft Inc., the BKP is designed to meet the ongoing need for a comprehensive database of information related to biomedical equipment. Until now, equipment has been purchased through a series of non-standardized, stand-alone systems resulting in an absence of shared information between hospitals.
“We couldn’t be happier that Durham College’s research team – right here in our community – has chosen Lakeridge Health Oshawa to pilot the Biomedical Knowledge Portal,” said Darrell Sewell, vice-president, Human Resources and Hospitality Services, Lakeridge Health. “The portal is helping our medical team access the right equipment at the right time, which is a critical aspect of patient safety.”
“Patient care is our top priority at Ross Memorial Hospital so we want our front-line staff to be able to access the equipment they need as quickly as possible,” said Varouj Eskedjian, vice-president of Diagnostics and Support, RMH. “We believe the BKP will cut down on time spent searching for equipment and increase time at the bedside.”
The BKP is also supported by Durham College’s research collaboration with Infonaut Inc., a Toronto-based health-care/information technology company, which manufactures Hospital Watch Live, the software the portal uses to supply the information regarding the location, cleanliness and tracking of the mobile medical equipment. Capstone, in association with Expesite LLC, a clinical maintenance management system, is providing the daily asset management and routine maintenance schedules associated with the medical technology inventory.
“Effectively tracking and maintaining medical devices across the health-care system in the Central East LHIN is very important and we were glad to partner on this initiative,” said James Meloche, senior director, System Design and Implementation, Central East Local Integration Health Network. “Based on the results to date, the LHIN will be exploring opportunities to include additional hospitals in this promising venture and sharing this best practice with our colleagues in other parts of the province.”
Following on the heels of its first two successful implementations, the BKP is also scheduled to rollout at Southlake Regional Health Care Centre in Newmarket in the coming weeks.
“Durham College is pleased to offer our students an opportunity to gain real world experience while working directly with the project team auditing and tagging devices in the pilot hospitals,” added Tidman. “Graduates of our Biomedical Engineering Technology program will be the only health-care professionals entering the biomedical field that are ‘BKP-ready’.”