A mobile platform to keep patients safely in one place — home

When something goes wrong and patients have to return to hospital for the same problem in the month after they’ve been discharged, it takes a toll both on the individual and the health system. According to the Canadian Institute for Health Information, hospital readmissions cost the healthcare system as much as $1.8 billion per year.

It’s estimated, however, that almost 60 per cent of those readmissions could be avoided if those who were most likely to have to return to hospital could be identified and given better care before and after discharge. Older people, those with multiple health problems, those admitted the first time through the emergency department, and men are all more likely to be readmitted within 30 days.

It’s to help such vulnerable patients that ForaHealthyMe.com, a web and mobile virtual care tele-health system, was developed. ForaHealthyMe.com supports pre-operative consultations and post-hospitalization follow-ups for chronically ill and acute-care patients.

The company recently collaborated with Durham College to design and develop a framework to include video conferencing in its platform. It also worked with the college on a tool to help patients manage their chronic conditions at home, with the hospital monitoring them and providing education, consultation and counselling.

The project, which was completed in eight months, involved two computer programming students, who used their skills in HTML, CSS, JavaScript, SQL and data management and — with the integration of Adobe Connect — also experienced a framework that was new to them. Working on this project required the students to learn and expand their skill sets and enhanced their problem-solving skills.

This project considerably expanded the range of services ForaHealthyMe.com offers. The mobile site is live and helping health-care institutions improve the quality of their care and reduce readmissions while enabling patients to do better managing their conditions at home.

Partner(s): ForaHealthyMe Inc.
Funded by: College and Community Innovation Program, Engage Grant, NSERC

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