Aetonix, now a part of the Trudell Medical Group, is expanding its Virtual Care Patient Management Platform

The Trudell Medical Group (TMG) located in Ontario, Canada, owns a portfolio of Canadian and US companies, bringing innovative medical devices and services to healthcare professionals and patients in over 110 countries. Within the portfolio, Trudell Medical International (Canada) and Monaghan Medical (US) are renowned for their market leading Aerochamber® and Aerobika® respiratory devices. ProResp is the leader in professional client-centered respiratory therapy for patients in local communities across the province of Ontario, Canada.

In January 2021, TMG took a big step into virtual care delivery, through the acquisition of Aetonix Systems, an Ottawa-based remote patient management platform. Over the last ten years, Aetonix has built an impressive multi-condition, care pathway management platform, that is now deployed in over 250 hospital and care settings throughout Canada, the UK and US. Aetonix recognized early on that virtual care needed to progress further. While remote patient “monitoring” often remains narrowed to digital devices and data collection, Aetonix developed its “management” platform to enable a more dynamic, multi-constituent center of care, customized around the patient. With the aTouchAway® platform by Aetonix, clinicians and their care team, often supported by patient family members, have been able to treat to guidelines and empower users to self-educate, driving improved patient care plan compliance and superior outcomes.

Now under the TMG banner, Aetonix is excited to have the opportunity to further augment its offering by integrating TMG’s clinical expertise. A recent partnership with Ontario’s Quinte Health Care (QHC) hospital system, focused on Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) care management, validates the potential for innovative models. The Quinte care teams, supported by ProResp’s clinicians, and all integrated within Aetonix’s platform, form a virtual circle of care within the region. QHC’s four hospitals discharge COPD patients post-exacerbation to these Quinte care teams, who manage them virtually through aTouchAway® and visits as needed by ProResp’s team of Respiratory Therapists. This model has led to a stable continuum of care for COPD patients integral to making a successful transition from hospital to home.

“Our primary care and hospital partners within the local Hastings and Prince Edward (HPE) Ontario Health Team had been working on a discharge pathway for COPD in 2020-21. The collaboration with Aetonix and Pro Resp added a layer of quality care and virtual management to our patients – specifically our population that could not access team-based primary care. Within the first 6 months we have more than 60 patients on the service providing both reactive and proactive symptom management/education. We are receiving patient feedback that supports our initial view that a gap existed and that virtual management can thrive in our current healthcare system. We are excited about future opportunities to support a mix of standard and virtual care services in our region.” Derk Damron, RRT & Virtual Care Coordinator, Quinte Health Care

“It has been inspiring to be part of a project that enhances the care QHC and our community partners can extend to patients by optimizing remote care management. It’s an innovative approach that harnesses virtual care to drive better outcomes for the significant COPD population in the region we serve. I look forward to exploring the many potential opportunities for virtual care patient management”. Barry Hillier, Director Information Services and Knowledge Management, Quinte Health Care

COPD is just one of the many diseases that the Aetonix aTouchAway® platform has been deployed to manage. Complex patients rarely have only one disease, and the platform is ideal for managing multiple conditions, including congestive heart failure, long term ventilation, diabetes, acute post-surgical care, intensive care, and paramedic care, among others.

George Baran, Chair of Trudell Medical Group adds, “Clearly healthcare has been permanently disrupted due to transformative technologies and the ongoing COVID pandemic. Trudell has evolved as well. Our investments in Aetonix and other smart devices and connected care technologies have us well positioned to leverage our broad operational foundation and talents to discover new models and better outcomes in step with health care partners. Trudell has the experience of nearly 100 years in the healthcare business with operating companies in the USA, Canada, and other major world markets. These companies operate in the medical device design, manufacturing, and marketing segments as well as in the provision of medical services directly to patients. This experience gives us a holistic view of the industry and has taught us the importance of remaining patient centric while endeavoring to save health care dollars”. We intend to apply this experience and philosophy to our work with Aetonix.

Despite the pandemic’s challenges, it has also demonstrated that it is possible to deliver more coordinated care management, by combining Remote Patient Management technology with virtual clinical support to achieve better patient outcomes, reduced hospital readmissions and virtual care at scale for everyone. The intent of this model is to alleviate constraints and allow us to deliver better, faster, more coordinated and patient-centred care. This approach will fundamentally change how patients, families, and caregivers experience their healthcare.

For enquiries, please contact:

Rob Lane – Aetonix Inc. rob.lane@aetonix.com

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COPD Education – Onboarding

Objective

To complete a thorough needs assessment / initial evaluation for a COPD patient of an outpatient clinic

Actors
Patient, Educator (Nurse, RT, the Physician could also be the educator)

Timelines
One 60-90 min session with the Educator

Description
  • This protocol should be established for all COPD patients from a given clinic, independently of whether they are new patients or they are known to the clinic. This protocol is the basis to engage the patient into other protocols such as education, exacerbation follow-up, etc.
  • We need to identify patient goals/concerns to guide the interventions
  • A thorough evaluation is carried on, with the objective of understanding where the patient is on their disease journey and follow-up treatable traits: dyspnea, exacerbation or dyspnea and exacerbation.
  • It includes the use of objective questionnaires such as the mMRC, CAT, HADS, Frailty Scale, etc.
  • Identify if the patient needs to be referred to other resources (e.g. Physiotherapist, social worker, occupational therapist)
  • Once Onboarding is completed, the patient continues to the COPD Education workflow
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COPD Education – Continuous Maintenance

Objective 

To cover in depth all the necessary elements of self-management education as per the LWWCOPD, with priorities based on patient goals and identified treatable traits

Actors
Patient, Educator (Nurse, RT or Physician)

Timelines
A number of “Core” educational modules have been identified which cover the basic COPD education from the LWWCOPD program. Additionally, optional modules can be used to respond to patient needs. The timeline (frequency, number of modules to be covered at a given education session) is fully customizable, although we recommend to have education sessions every 2-weeks during the “active” phase of education. Once this is completed, the patient continues to the Maintenance Mode (see below).

Description
  • Launched at the onboarding protocol
  • Provide basic overview of COPD self-management based on LWWCOPD (medication adherence, inhaler techniques, PLB technique & energy conservation) up to the development of an Action plan for early exacerbation recognition and management.
  • Prioritize self-learning by the patient (e.g. watching videos, reading educational materials, completing homework) in addition to live sessions with the Educator. Educational materials are sent to the patient directly via the platform, and become the patient’s own library. The Educator can customize which “homework” the patient receives.
  • Educators have access to “User guides” to standardise their educational intervention. These user guides include: objectives, interventions, suggested questions, evaluation of self-efficacy, and learning contracts for each module.
  • Once the core education is completed, the patient can continue to the Respiratory Status Follow-up Workflow (run in parallel)

The Maintenance Mode
  • As soon as the maintenance mode is engaged, the frequency of visits Educator/Patient is reduced to once every 6 months.
  • During the Maintenance Mode sessions, the educator has access to all the education modules and can choose any piece of content that needs to covered with the patient. 
  • A streamlined evaluation (similar to the initial eval.) is done during each “maintenance” visit to identify any substantial changes on the patient’s needs that will require some adjustment. The patient could come back to an “active” education mode (more frequent education sessions, e.g. every 2 weeks).
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COPD Respiratory Status Follow-up

Objective

Monitoring of stable patients from a clinic in order to identify early any aggravation of symptoms (exacerbation) and implement an action plan

Actors
Patient, Educator (Nurse, RT or Physician)

Timelines
Scheduled regular automated follow-up to the patient symptoms. Intensity/Frequency can be adjusted by the Educator depending on patient needs (e.g. daily, every week, etc.). Ongoing through the year.

Description
  • Launch: Patients who have completed the Core Educational including setting-up an action plan.
  • Regular automated questions allow to identify any change in patient’s symptoms and severity.
  • If an exacerbation is detected the patient gets a reminder to engage their self-management strategies while waiting for the Educator to call back.
  • An alarm is generated for the Educator, so they immediately call back the patient. At this call they will evaluate any further intervention required and schedule additional follow-up.
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