By Tamara Mason
Canada’s healthcare system is complex and not without its challenges. Physicians and patients alike will tell you that those challenges can be frustrating. Operating on the front lines, physicians are in a unique position to identify solutions to improve the practice experiences of physicians while at the same time enhancing their collective ability to deliver quality care to patients. This is where JouleTM , CMA’s newest subsidiary, comes in to make it easier for physicians to be at their best.
In addition to those areas of business brought over from CMA—leadership courses, clinical products and publications—Joule has created an entirely new line of business Joule Innovation, to identify new products and services and a focus on physician-led innovation. Through its innovation council, H2™ Hacking Health Design Days and Joule Innovation grants, the company wants to make it easier for CMA members to expand their roles to include “innovator” and “entrepreneur”.
“Joule wasn’t created just to help physician innovators bring their ventures to market,” says Lindee David, Joule’s CEO, but also to ease their journey where possible and to mentor innovation.”
A cornerstone of Joule Innovation is its grant program.
The first round of Joule Innovation grants was open for only two months for the Canadian Medical Association’s 83,000 plus members. When the process closed on June 23, Joule had received 126 submissions through the Joule app. Over the course of the next two months, 28 were short-listed and through a rigorous review process, five recipients were selected.
“We could not have anticipated how well-received our program would be,” says David. “I am absolutely certain that it is a result of us filling a long-standing need among physician members and we are thrilled to fill this gap and thrilled to serve CMA members in this capacity.”
On August 20, at the start of its first H2TM Hacking Health Design Day in Vancouver, British Columbia, Joule proudly announced the names of the five recipients sharing $150,000 in grants. Grant funds will allow recipients to take their ventures to a new level with an immense potential to drive change in health and healthcare in Canada but also across the globe.
Family physician Dr. Kavanagh was awarded a grant to support the development of Ocean Tablet, a patient centric application that reduces the language barriers between physicians and their patients, saving time and lives by automatically translating concise clinical notes into the electronic medical record.
To date, the results are impressive. Clinics that use the Ocean Tablet (over 1.5M patient updates so far) report that the time needed for a single appointment can be reduced by as much as 65 per cent, while allowing more time spent face-to-face with patients. Digital data entry also allows for more structured patient records of higher quality, enabling easier data analysis and secured data-sharing for research purposes.
“Patient engagement on this level means greater efficiency for clinics, better time management for patients and improved information sharing for research purposes,” claims Dr. Kavanagh.
Dr. Wong, a public health physician, will use the grant she received to develop 3D4MD, which delivers physicians and patients low cost, on-demand 3D printable medical solutions.
3D4MD solves numerous challenges in the healthcare community.
First, the printers are low cost and portable and run on solar power which is appealing to those patients in remote areas. Second, because custom medical devices are produced on the spot at the point of use, this eliminates the weeks and months it takes for delivery of the product to clinics. It is also a work-around to the global shortage of skilled workers who can make these custom devices.
“My role is to inspire, teach, and empower people to become innovators and use 3D printing to solve big challenges,” says Dr. Wong. “Anybody can be an innovator – it’s about creating technology that’s beneficial and accessible to those around the globe who need it most.”
Radiologist, Dr. Jaremko will use the grant funds to develop CUDL 3D Ultrasound, a cloud-based computer-aided diagnostic tool that is currently under development. Simply put, the goal of the tool will be to provide an on-the-spot diagnosis of a 2D and 3D ultrasound image based on knowledge accumulated from thousands of similar cases.
With his expertise and vision, Dr. Jaremko’s goal is to make the CUDL a platform for sharing clinical data securely and applying deep learning networks to radically simplify ultrasound. “Unlike other imaging modalities like CT or MRI, ultrasound is portable and can travel anywhere to remote villages or people’s homes. It’s the 21st century stethoscope,” claims Dr. Jaremko.
Simulare Medical Corp
Plastic surgery resident, Dr. Podolsky will use the funds to develop Simulare Medical Corp, a start-up company dedicated to enhancing surgical skills via the development of simulators—starting with a physical cleft palate simulator—towards significantly superior patient safety and outcomes.
“The advantage of using simulation as part of physician training is that it allows trainees to learn a complex procedure at their own pace in a low pressure environment. Making mistakes has no direct patient consequences and it enables repetition which in-turn leads to increased proficiency and ultimately better trained surgeons,” claims Dr. Podolsky.
Blue Dot & PanMEDIC
Dr. Khan, a practising infectious diseases clinician, will use the funds towards Blue Dot and the clinical aid PanMEDIC, a web-based clinical aid for physicians who lack the training or experience to confidently recognize important global infectious diseases.
PanMEDIC organizes information on important global infectious disease epidemics around the world as they occur. It concurrently monitors the movements of more than four billion passengers on commercial flights worldwide every year to anticipate where and when these diseases are mostly likely to spread. Finally, it directs timely educational messages to healthcare providers practising in areas of the world at greatest risk of disease spread, with a goal of enabling early recognition and minimizing the potential for outbreaks.
“We feel that PanMEDIC will be a powerful tool and an important step toward preparedness and infectious disease readiness, not only in Canada but around the world,” says Khan.
Joule congratulates all five of its Innovation grant recipients for their successful grant applications. At the same time, we also thank them for reminding all of us that when it comes to physician-led innovation, the possibilities are truly endless.
For each grant recipient Joule has published a full-length news story and a short profile video. These can be found on cma.ca in a special web-feature, 16 MDs who made 2016 better for physician-led innovation.
The next round of Joule Innovation grants is open to all CMA members and closes May 1, 2017. More information is available at joule.cma.ca. What’s your great idea?
Want to flex your innovation muscle?
Joule™ knows that physicians play numerous valuable roles in the delivery of care to patients. We also know that physicians are uniquely positioned to identify solutions to common health care issues but that innovating can be challenging. For this reason, Joule offers Canadian Medical Association (CMA) members with opportunities to collaborate with other physicians, entrepreneurs and subject matter experts to help physicians hone these skills. In 2017, Joule will hold Joule H2 ™ Hacking Health Design Days and other events designed to help physicians progress their ideas— potential health care solutions— so the benefits of those ventures can be realized by physicians and patients in Canada and across the globe.
Tamara Mason is the Director, Communications at Joule Inc., a Canadian Medical Association Company.