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New technology aims to save lives and prevent problems post-surgery

Dec 7, 2017
Guylaine Spencer

photo of Michael McGillionSandra CarrollBernice Downey

Above, left to right: Dr. Michael McGillion, Dr. Sandra Carroll, Dr. Bernice Downey

Close to 1 in 5 patients who undergo cardiac and major vascular surgery are back in the hospital two months later. Health researchers believe that is an alarming and preventable problem.

Investigators working on a major new study that is going live with 600 patients in December hope to reduce hospital readmission and save lives by linking patients with nurses via new technology that allows nurses to monitor patients in hospital or at home.

Dr. Michael McGillion, Associate Professor in the McMaster School of Nursing, is principal investigator of the SMArTVIEW project. He explains that “in hospital, patients will be connected to cableless remote automated monitoring devices. Their nurses will receive real time notifications via a handheld device about any subtle physiologic signs of deterioration that would otherwise go unnoticed. Once discharged, patients will go home with a computer tablet and a set of vital signs equipment so they can take their blood pressure up to three times daily. That information comes back to the nurse in near real-time on our surgical units so that they can have a video visit with the patient and assess what’s happening.”

The co-principal investigator is PJ Devereaux, Director of the Division of Cardiology. McMaster’s School of Nursing Faculty co-investigators, who will be playing key leadership roles in aspects of the project, include Dr. Sandra Carroll and Dr. Bernice Downey.

Dr. Sandra Carroll is the SMArTVIEW patient engagement lead and the Associate Dean, Health Sciences & Director, School of Nursing. “I am excited to see this innovative approach to patient monitoring in action as we begin to enroll patients locally and internationally. As a nurse scientist, the patients’ self-management at home is of interest for me to be able to see patients engage in their own care alongside the SMArTVIEW team,” says Carroll.

Dr. Bernice Downey is an Assistant Professor in School of Nursing and lead for the Indigenous Health Initiative for the Faculty of Health Sciences at McMaster University. “This project provides an opportunity to explore potential culturally-responsive opportunities relevant to health literacy and cardiovascular disease among Indigenous populations. Collaboration with Indigenous stakeholders to adapt and hopefully pilot test the technology certainly holds potential to closing the gap in access to care,” says Downey.

The exciting project has attracted recent media attention:

Global News:

The Hamilton Spectator:

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