FeatureSports & Health

Keeping a closer eye on patients to reduce the risk of fall injuries

Falls are one of the top patient safety incidents across many health care organizations.

At Oak Valley Health, overall falls account for over 500 falls per year of varying levels of severity, or 23 per cent of all patient safety incidents.

As a result, fall prevention continues to be the top quality and safety priority at Oak Valley Health.

As part of the organization’s quality improvement plan (QIP), Oak Valley Health has committed to designing and implementing interventions to reduce falls with injury.

One such intervention that is being trialled at Oak Valley Health’s Markham Stouffville Hospital is continuous video monitoring, which is an innovative solution that helps to reduce harmful falls and enhance and optimize care through ongoing, real-time observation dedicated to patients most at risk of falls.

On Nov. 21, in partnership with Toronto’s University Health Network (UHN), Oak Valley Health implemented a one-year pilot of Halo Remote Monitoring on units 2C (transitional care inpatient unit), 2E (medicine/AAU inpatient unit), and 3C (medicine/cardiology unit).

The Halo Remote Monitoring Program is an innovative technology launched through UHN that uses the assistance of artificial intelligence and provides continuous remote observation of patients in order to keep them safe in the hospital. This program, which launched at UHN in 2016 and has since been implemented at other hospitals across Canada, and has shown great improvements in reducing serious safety events related to falls as well as increased patient, family, and staff satisfaction.

Utilizing the Halo Remote Monitoring will strategically augment Oak Valley Health’s fall prevention bundle, which will include:

  • Early risk screening for adult inpatient, outpatient, emergency, and obstetrics
  • Patient and family education tools

“We are excited to have this innovative technology to remotely monitor medically appropriate patients who are at risk for falls. This technology enhances patient safety, using the process of monitoring, identifying and responding quickly to prevent injuries related to falls,” says Carnett Howell-Belle, Patient Care Director, Acute Medicine and Critical Care Program, Oak Valley Health. “Since our launch, we have avoided over 100 patient safety concerns – such as high-risk falls, inability to call for assistance, and pulling of attached lines. The Halo Remote Monitoring technology has supported optimization of our health care resources by providing a safe option for remotely monitoring these patients.”

UHN’s Halo service is delivered from a command centre in downtown Toronto by staff who are trained and enabled to each keep an eye on eight patients simultaneously, replacing the need for one-on-one bed sitters.

This program aligns with Oak Valley Health’s strategic plan by advancing technology and reinvesting in patient care, providing integrated seamless care and enhancing the patient and family experience.


Photo: Oak Valley Health and University Health Network teams with Halo Remote Video monitoring unit.

Story submitted by Michelle Lee Hoy.

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