CANet VIRTUES: cutting-edge technology ushers in a bold new era of arrhythmia care
London, ON, February 1, 2019 — Cardiac Arrhythmia Network of Canada (CANet) leverages cutting-edge technology to empower its patients.
Digital innovations like artificial intelligence, blockchain technology, and consumer-grade wearables are now mainstream. Healthcare services must invest in these breakthroughs to deliver better medical care for Canadians.
CANet is currently focusing on solutions – advanced analytics, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and blockchain technology – towards one simple strategic goal – significantly improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and accessibility of arrhythmia care delivery in Canada.
“We are staying ahead of the digital-health curve by bridging the gap between doctors, technologists, and patients,” says CANet Research Data and Systems Manager Dimitri Popolov.
So far, that gap has been a key obstacle in developing advanced healthcare technology.
CANet’s VIRTUES Clinical Platform – a user-driven clinical application – is transforming how CANet works with patients and clinicians to manage arrhythmia. It presents patients with their health data and includes them in the decision-making process aimed at improving health outcomes.
Think of VIRTUES as precision medicine – a bundle of technology and medical breakthroughs wrapped in an online platform seamlessly and securely sharing valuable clinical data among wearable medical devices and databases, doctors and patients, all across the country.
VIRTUES combines super-large volumes of diverse clinical data and applies advanced analytics, machine learning, and artificial intelligence approaches to deliver accurate, patient-centric solutions.
The CANet developed platform is a step ahead of the curve – in most cases, medical records are often incomplete or outdated. For example, some records may have medication with dosages and frequencies, other records only mention daily dose while some others only mention administered drugs without specifying the dose. This picture is even more complex when a whole encounter record or clinical summary needs to be analyzed.
With VIRTUES, doctors can get the most up-to-date medical information at their fingertips.
CANet is currently piloting wearable devices that transmit Electrocardiogram (ECG) data into VIRTUES. The valuable clinical data will help doctors and patients better track important events such as atrial fibrillation episodes and valve regurgitations, potentially predict future episodes and prevent them.
“We want to empower patients and caregivers to be active partners in the management of their care,” says Dr. Anthony Tang, Scientific Director and CEO, CANet.
VIRTUES utilizes the HL7 FHIR (Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources) standard – a vastly superior system of healthcare information and management, succeeding where others have failed.
“We embraced HL7 FHIR early on and through vital partnerships have access to the latest and highest expertise in areas of advanced analytics and visualization,” Popolov says. “VIRTUES is leveraging multidisciplinary and cross-functional technology innovation.”
Partnerships such as these not only help foster economic growth but also improve the lives of Canadians.
At the heart of CANet’s approach to VIRTUES is the belief that patient-centered and patient-owned personal health records should be designed to easily integrate with virtually all electronic health records and clinical information systems across Canada.
“Patients, researchers, clinicians, and industry partners have all played an active role in the design, development and continuous improvement of VIRTUES,” Tang says.
“Our emphasis is on empowering patients to control sharing of their data with their circle of care,” Tang says.
Now, CANet is leveraging clinical and technical leadership to run a Blockchain pilot project.
“Blockchain uses secure cryptography to ensure privacy and it will be integrated into the VIRTUES Clinical Platform infrastructure,” Popolov says.
With blockchain, an ever-expanding collection of patient-controlled health records (containing a cryptographic hash of the previous block, a timestamp, and transaction data) called blocks, are securely linked using cryptography.
With Canada’s complex regulatory landscape, CANet has taken the necessary measures with Privacy and IT Security in their completion of Privacy Impact Assessments (PIA) for the VIRTUES Clinical Platform infrastructure to ensure compliance.
CANet has also partnered with technology companies to ensure that such records are protected and securely shared.
With multiple VIRTUES projects and clinical trials on the go, and a research paper already accepted for an upcoming major Canadian conference, CANet is, once again, pioneering how technology can transform patient’s lives.
“We are embracing the future now,” Tang says.
About Cardiac Arrhythmia Network of Canada (CANet)
The Cardiac Arrhythmia Network of Canada (CANet) is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to transforming Canada’s arrhythmia healthcare system through integrated trans-disciplinary research and development. The network’s strategy is to invent, prove, and implement innovative solutions to enable patients to take ownership and co-manage their arrhythmia health.
CANet is funded in part by the federal government’s Networks of Centres of Excellence (NCE), Canada’s flagship science and technology program.
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