Mackenzie Health: A "Smart" Internet of Things Approach to Healthcare

Stewart, Chris 1, 2

1. Institute of Biomaterials & Biomedical Engineering, University of Toronto; 2. Department of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering, University of Toronto

Patient call routing can have a dramatic impact on nurse response times and direct care times, which in turn impact patient satisfaction, falls risk and length of stay (LOS). For these reasons it is imperative to have timely responses to calls, but doing so in a busy hospital unit is challenging; nurses typically have multiple patients, documentation and other duties preventing them from immediately attending to calls. Mackenzie Health created an innovation ward which makes use of various networked “smart” technologies including nurse location trackers, mobile devices, and smart beds with a built in call button system. The system currently routes a patient call to the mobile device of the primary assigned nurse, who may be busy and unable to answer the call. An alternative, efficient way of routing these calls can improve response and direct care times and thus, patient outcomes.

We hypothesize that average response time and average direct care time can be improved from their current level, through the use of an alternative routing strategy that leverages more of the capabilities of the “smart” devices in the ward (e.g the location trackers). The main objectives of this study are to: 1. Develop a method of quickly and efficiently testing and evaluating different potential call routing strategies, and comparing the metrics of interest under the proposed routing strategy to those under the current state. 2. Develop and evaluate a feasible, efficient call routing strategy to for implementation in Mackenzie Health’s unit.

Overall, this study is expected to evaluate the use of advanced “smart” technologies in healthcare and evaluate different call routing strategies for implementation in Mackenzie Health’s innovation ward; to improve care efficiency and patient outcomes. These strategies may also be implemented in other hospitals with a mobile notification system seeking to improve their response times.