Here at Providence Health Care, we are always striving to provide the best evidence-based, patient- and family-centred care. But we know there’s more we can do. As a founding member of Canada’s Digital Technology Supercluster, and as we move toward the new St. Paul’s Hospital, we’re partnering with industry, post-secondary institutions, the Government of B.C., and other organizations to co-develop and exponentially accelerate the health care of the future.

Through our Learning-Forward strategic direction, we plan to transform health care and create a space to bring forth new ideas and test creative theories. An example of this is the Perioperative Opioid Usage Quality Improvement (POQI) project.

Click here to watch the Digital Supercluster video spotlight showcasing the Perioperative Opioid Usage Quality Improvement (POQI) project.

Why do we need POQI?

Canada is the second highest opioid consumer in the world after the United States. Rates of prescription opioid use have tripled in the past decade, leading to greater opioid misuse, addiction and sadly, deaths.

Opioids are recognized as an effective method for managing pain. However, they can also be addictive, contributing to a national health crisis here in Canada. Unfortunately, physicians often do not have the information they need to minimize this risk at the time of prescribing medication, nor do they receive follow-up data to reduce the rates of addiction.

Additionally, some patients don’t respond well to opioids after surgery. Adverse symptoms include lethargy, slow and laboured breathing, as well as delirium. In some cases, pain can worsen when patients are prescribed higher dosages of opioids.

What is POQI?

POQI is a post-surgery monitoring system that will collect patient data and provide doctors with the information they need to better manage the prescription and use of opioids.

Patient data from multiple sources, such as prescription data and patient surveys, will be collected and centralized to create a complete snapshot of a patient’s treatment before and after surgery. Taken together, this can be used by the patient and doctor together to improve pain management and implement strategies that reduce opioid use.

The team is starting with the creation of a Perioperative Monitoring System (POM) to help tackle the opioid crisis. The data platform could also be used to enhance the electronic health records (EHR) systems that presently capture billing, medical and legal documentation of a patient’s clinical visits and hospital workflows.

The project is led by: Careteam; Xerus Medical; Thrive Health; Excelar Technologies; BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute; British Columbia’s Ministry of Health (advisory capacity); Providence Health Care; the National Research Council of Canada; Health Canada; the University of British Columbia; and the Canadian Medical Association’s innovation-focused subsidiary Joule.

With further development, the POMS technology and platform used for this project can potentially also be adapted for pain management strategies involving chronic conditions such as arthritis.

Want to learn more or have an idea you’d like to share?

Other PHC Digital Supercluster projects