Time to tap into health care sector for job growth: Chamber


An 82-year-old woman has been waiting 22 hours for a hospital bed.

She was admitted to Windsor Regional Hospital Sunday morning with two infections. If she shares a room, she could make someone else even sicker.

Gina Bulke, who’s responsible for the flow of patients through the hospital, has her eyes peeled on an iPhone app, which will tell her in real time when a bed becomes available for the elderly patient. When the patient’s label flips from red to yellow, Bulke will know she’s been assigned a room.

The app, called Vibe, an Internet program designed by a Kitchener-based tech company, is being used at Windsor Regional to reduce wait times for hospital beds.

It’s one example of innovative technology hoping to make health care better and giving Ontario companies work.

It’s time for Windsor to leverage its health-care sector for more economic opportunity, says the head of the local Chamber of Commerce.

A new report from the Ontario Chamber of Commerce says the province needs to tap into the private sector and take a serious look at how to deal with changing demographics.

It found nearly four in five Ontarians are worried our health-care system isn’t sustainable.

Gina Bulcke, director of organizational effectiveness at the Windsor Regional Hospital Ouellette, is shown with a projected screen from an app that helps track empty rooms and better manage patients on March 14, 2016.

Dan Janisse /

Windsor Star

The number of seniors in the province is projected to double in the next 20 years. Although health spending is nearly half the provincial budget, it’s not increasing with inflation or growing to meet needs of an aging population, according to the report.

The report outlines several key challenges facing Ontario’s health-care system: an aging demographic suffering from chronic illnesses, unsustainable growth in costs, a disjointed system where knowledge isn’t always shared and a growing life and sciences sector lacking investment.

“Should we insert the private sector to deliver things cheaper and drive innovation higher?” asked Matt Marchand, president and CEO of the Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce. The provincial Chamber of Commerce will be releasing five reports over the coming year delving into the issue, proposing its ideas for transformation of the health-care sector.

Oculys, the company that developed the Vibe app, works with hospitals to design a tool that pulls in data from multiple departments — the emergency room, the intensive care unit, and wings with patient rooms — to keep doctors, nurses and staff up-to-date on bed backups.

The program has eliminated daily morning meetings and frequent phone calls when there was no way to check how many beds were open. Although hospitals still deal with long delays, staff have a better way to find out immediately where beds are free and why the wait has been so long. It can help calm a frustrated patient and make sure patients are sent to a bed as soon as it’s available.

Gina Bulcke, director of organizational effectiveness at the Windsor Regional Hospital Ouellette campus, displays an app that helps track empty rooms and better manage patients on March 14, 2016.

Dan Janisse /

Windsor Star

On Monday afternoon, Bulke flipped open the app to see that 15 of 20 ER beds at the Ouellette campus were in use and total occupancy was around 85 per cent. At the Metropolitan campus, a yellow label warned that three people were still waiting for a bed assignment.

“I don’t know if we would have been able to develop this degree of technology,” she said. “I don’t know if we could have made it as sleek. They’re quite innovative.”

Marchand said it’s not about privatizing health care or moving toward a U.S. model. In fact, he said universal health care makes Windsor and Essex County more competitive than other places, where businesses have to pay for employees’ health insurance.

The goal is rather to find ways that private sector innovation, such as new technologies, can make public health care more efficient and lower costs.

“The end game of this is to maintain our very important competitive advantage that we have in the health-care sector,” Marchand said. “We’ve got experts from every angle on this. We’ve got hospitals, we’ve got doctors, we’ve got everybody involved in this discussion.”



Source link

About the author


Add Comment

Click here to post a comment

Health Motivation


Recent Post