First in Canada: Innovation Unit transforms care

Mackenzie Health is transforming care through the creation of an Innovation Unit, a first-in-Canada project which features a unique integration of advanced technology that transforms the delivery of care.

A first in Mackenzie Health’s Innovation Journey, the Innovation Unit is an acute care medical unit that has been transformed into a living and breathing laboratory for innovations to be developed, evaluated and adopted by other patient care units at Mackenzie Richmond Hill Hospital, as well as the new Mackenzie Vaughan Hospital and at the health system level.

The Innovation Unit includes 17 Smart Patient Rooms (34 beds) which feature “smart” badges, “smart” stations, “smart” therapeutic beds, patient call lights and hand hygiene support systems as part of a multi-phase implementation designed to enhance the quality of care.


Enabled by an interactive environment, the beds have a number of features that communicate information directly to the clinical staff who are caring for patients, including patient and bed rail positioning, and if patients are entering or exiting their bed.

“Smart” stations with an enhanced user interface are installed in every room and at the Nursing Station to provide staff with access to patients’ information and status.

Each staff member wears a badge which identifies their location on the unit, alerts them of any patient calls, enables staff communication and records patient call response times.

Dome light indicators outside each room alert the staff to whether patients are at risk for falls, track the nurses’ location and communicate real-time information to the status boards.


The hand hygiene support solution utilizes a system that reviews hand hygiene and proactively alerts staff of potential “missed” hand-hygiene opportunities through proximity sensors. “The Innovation Unit is about using innovation to drive change and become more patient-centred,” says Tiziana Rivera, Chief Nursing Executive and Chief Practice Officer, Mackenzie Health. “By implementing technologies that are designed and integrated to improve the patient experience and clinical outcomes, doctors and nurses are better able to perform their roles and deliver safer, more efficient care to patients.”

The concept, design and implementation of the Innovation Unit have been developed by Mackenzie Health in collaboration with Hill-Rom, a leading provider of medical technologies for the health care industry.

Mackenzie Health has also partnered with the Ivey School of Business to evaluate the impact of the integration of technology on quality, safety and patient care. Once the evaluation of the Innovation Unit has been completed, the findings will inform plans for the future expansion of this new and innovative approach to care across the hospital and beyond.

On June 19, 2014, Mackenzie Health celebrated the official launch of the unit alongside technology, academic and community partners, local government representatives, hospital leaders, as well as staff and physicians.