W21C

Science. Technology. Health Care. Welcome to the Ward of the 21st Century.

Research | Projects

W21C is proud of the exciting opportunities and transformative environment we have established to encourage innovative health research. In addition to participation from our multidisciplinary team at the University of Calgary and Alberta Health Services (AHS), national and international experts in safety and quality of care have and continue to work with W21C to advance the research agenda.

Industry Supported Research

CISCO Video-on-Demand Pilot Project

W21C is working with CISCO Systems to develop an effective and easy-to-use video-on-demand system that delivers important content to patients during their hospital stay.

Recruitment is currently ongoing for one-hour sessions to try out the system and answer questions about the experience for the following groups:

Individuals with chronic conditions

Hospital Staff who assist patients to review educational materials

Industry Supported Research

The Use of Exsalt™ Wound Dressings in the Treatment of Chronic Wounds: Scoping Review & Pilot Study

The goal of this project is 1) to conduct a scoping review to assess the current state of evidence regarding the use of silver-impregnated dressings on chronic wounds, and 2) to determine clinical feasibility of Exsalt™ wound dressings in patients with a chronic wound. Exsalt™ wound dressings are researched and manufactured by an Alberta based company called Exciton Technologies Inc., and are unique due to their higher oxidation states of silver than commonly used silver dressings. The outcomes of this pilot study will be available in fall 2017, and will help to clarify clinical parameters for a future larger scale study.

W21C Lead Supported

iDECIDE Study

The primary objective of this study is to evaluate the feasibility of decision support tools aimed at improving the quality and quantity of end-of-life communication and decision-making in acute care settings for seriously ill, elderly patients.

This is a multi-site study led by McMaster University.

Further information

W21C Lead Supported

Process Improvements to Guide Pulmonary Function Scheduling Policies

Point-of-care pulmonary function (PF) testing is a critical component of the accurate diagnosis and management of respiratory disease. Many physicians are currently unable to obtain timely, on-site pulmonary function testing for patients attending respiratory clinics. This project’s aim is to examine the patient flow and assess and improve issues with suboptimal access to the Pulmonary Function Testing Facility located at the Foothills Medical Centre.

Health Services Research

Evaluation of Automated Dispensing Cabinets

W21C and AHS partnered together to evaluate the design of several ADC for procurement by AHS for the new South Health Campus. Through usability testing and heuristic evaluation with nurse practitioners and pharmacy technologists, human factors experts were able to provide additional information to inform purchasing decisions to ensure AHS received the most usable device.

Industry Supported Research

Surface Medical’s CleanPatch

In partnership with Alberta Health Service’s Infection Prevention and Control, W21C conducted an independent evaluation of CleanPatch - a 3 inch by 3 inch patch that works like a bandage for hospital beds. CleanPatch was developed to address the issue of damaged hospital surfaces contributing to Hospital Acquired Infections (or HAIs) - infections that patients develop in hospital while receiving treatment for a separate illness.

Focus groups and interviews were conducted to gather feedback on the design and development of the product and to assess the potential use in the hospital environment. A microbiology study was also conducted to compare the contamination rates between CleanPatch and hospital mattresses. Results of the study suggest that CleanPatch is an easy and innovative way to repair damaged hospital mattress surfaces.

W21C Lead Supported

Assessment of Procedural Skills in Internal Medicine

The W21C clinical simulation research team is studying the training of medical residents on procedures using task training simulators. This project will develop a reliable assessment tool for internal medicine residents and will follow the procedural development of current residents over their three year residency training program.

Health Services Research

South Health Campus (SHC)

W21C partnered with AHS to evaluate and provide human factors expertise into the design of four different spaces at the new SHC: an outpatient room, an emergency department exam room, an acute care room, and an intensive care room. Design and usability changes made due to this research affected over 700 rooms and resulted in huge cost savings during hospital construction.

Health Services Research

HQCA Review: Physician Advocacy

With a focus on the issue of intimidation of physicians when advocating for patient populations, the report highlighted evidence for effective strategies that address the issue of physician advocacy on matters of health policy and public policy, with emphasis on the Canadian and Albertan context.

View the full report here.

Health Services Research

HQCA Review: Emergency Medical Services

The W21C conducted a broad overview of the research informing aspects of emergency medical services. The overview included an exploration of 1) quality indicators and performance measures, 2) EMS system components (e.g., environment, equipment, personnel), 3) specific aspects of EMS care, and 4) EMS system safety

Health Services Research

HQCA Review: Emergency Department Overcrowding

The W21C conducted an overview on interventions to reduce emergency department overcrowding for the Health Quality Council of Alberta. The review synthesized previous systematic reviews that had been conducted on interventions shown to reduce emergency department overcrowding, improve patient flow, and reduce patient wait times. Among these interventions synthesized by the review, a number of efficacious interventions were highlighted along with others where the evidence was more uncertain.

Health Services Research

Evaluation of Ambulance Design

W21C has partnered with AHS to conduct a human factors evaluation of Emergency Medical Services ground ambulances. The project's goal is to develop evidence based design guidelines for enhanced patient and health care provider safety and efficiency of care.

Learn more about the study in this three minute video.

W21C Lead Supported

Vocera Evaluation

Vocera technology is a hands free communication device that the W21C Wellness research team evaluated for its impact on patient safey and quality of care.  These devices were evaluated using mixed methods, including interviews and surveys. Study results suggest that Vocera enhances communication and improves staff efficiency as well as perceived patient care.

W21C Lead Supported

Professional Role Transition Experiences of Newly Licensed Physicians

The W21C Wellness team is studying the professional transition of physicians from physician trainee or learner to physicians in an independent practice. Interviews are conducted at 1, 4, 8, and 12 months after physicians begin their practice to explore the various stages of transition.

W21C Lead Supported

Systematic Review of Central Venous Catherization Checklists

Central venous catheter placement is a common and critical procedure often performed by residents. W21C team members conducted a systematic review of assessment tools for rating directly observed CVC performances to determine the procedure steps and key competencies that these tools evaluate. Findings suggest that many published CVC assessment tools are suboptimal and evaluators should be cautious when adopting competency assessment tools.

W21C Lead Supported

Impact of the Senior Resident Rotation Bundle

Part of the W21C Wellness Portfolio, this pre-post survey examined the impact of changes to the senior residents’ rotation schedule on health care provider wellness, quality of health care delivery and medical education experience. Study findings were used to help plan senior resident’s rotation the following year. 

W21C Lead Supported

Seamless Discharge

Patients are particularly vulnerable during transitions of care, such as during hospital discharge.  This project's aim is to definitively assess the impact of a web-based seamless discharge communication tool. The tool is currently undergoing a randomized controlled trial on Unit 36 and is expanding to other Medial Teaching Units within the Foothills Medical Centre.

W21C Lead Supported

Physician Nutrition

Part of the W21C Wellness Portfolio, this is a food-based intervention study to better understand the impact of regular meals and breaks on a physician's cognition, glucose, and hypoglycemic symptoms.  The team has so far published two papers on the qualitative and quantitative results of this study. 

W21C Lead Supported

What Does Resilience Mean to Physicians?

The W21C Wellness team is using qualitative interviews with Alberta physicians to understand what 'resilience' means to them. The team hopes to eventually enhance physician resilience by developing programs to increase concept awareness and ways of teaching physicians how to improve it. 

W21C Lead Supported

Medical Assessment Unit (MAU) Evaluation

W21C conducted an interdisciplinary and province-wide evaluation of an innovation initiative in Edmonton and Calgary: Medical Assessment Unit (MAU) pilots. The implementation of MAU may reduce emergency room overcrowding, improve patient transition and continuity of care within hospital services, and reduce overall length of patient stay.

W21C Lead Supported

Exploring the Dimensions of the Medical Teaching Unit Preceptor Role

The W21C Wellness team is using ethnographic observations and interviews to explore Medical Teaching Unit preceptor role dimensions. This enhanced understanding should ultimately help us better define the role, develop orientation, mentoring and evaluation tools, and consider what parts of the role could be delegated to other health care providers.  CIHR has kindly funded this project.

W21C Lead Supported

Interruptions during Pediatric Resuscitation

The W21C is partnering with the Alberta Children’s Hospital’s KidSIM pediatric simulation project for this national multi-site study. The study examines the effectiveness of team training on performance of pediatric resuscitation codes. The human factors team will be investigating the effect of interruptions on team performance during these codes.

W21C Lead Supported

ICU Discharge

Intensive care unit (ICU) discharge processes can contribute to suboptimal care and medical errors in hospitals.  This project will use surveys of ICU facilities and interviews with key stakeholders to to create a four-component ICU discharge tool that will improve the quality of physician communication with potential benefits to quality of care and patient safety.

W21C Lead Supported

Epilepsy Surgery Evaluation Tool

To improve care for epilepsy patients, researchers at the University of Calgary are developing a web-based epilepsy surgery referral tool.  The W21C is assisting with both usability testing and focus groups aimed to improve the tool before it is used by physicians in the community.

W21C Lead Supported

Human Factors – Use of Automated External Defibrillators on Female Patients

The human factors group is doing usability testing with a patient simulator dressed up as a female patient.  They will be studying the effect of patient sex on people's ability to properly use automatic external defibrillators.  Initial findings suggest that male patient simulators are insufficient for training purposes and understanding caregiver behavior.

W21C Lead Supported

Human Factors – Use of Automated External Defibrillators by the Elderly

The human factors group is evaluating two AEDs for use by an elderly population. A key goal of the study is to make sure that AEDs are designed so groups of people most likely likely to be affected by a sudden cardiac arrest (e.g., the elderly) can use them in a timely and effective manner.

W21C Lead Supported

Developing Quality Indicators for Trauma Care

In collaboration with other key researchers, W21C is developing population- and evidence-based quality indicators of trauma care. A key project results is a tool that allows health care providers improve patient outcomes and initiate local quality improvement initiatives, helps systems managers to identify and correct system wide problems, and allows policy makers to plan for future trauma systems.

W21C Lead Supported

The DECIDE Study

The DECIsion-Making about Goals of Care for Hospitalized MeDical Patients, or DECIDE, is a study that will identify barriers and potential solutions to improve communication and decision-making about goals of care, from the perspectives of hospital-based physicians and nurses.  This project is a national CIHR-funded project.

W21C Lead Supported

Chronic Disease Management Web Portal

This project aims to develop a user-friendly web portal with online tools, allowing older adults to self-manage a variety of common chronic conditions, including urinary incontinence, diabetes, osteoporosis, and hypertension.  The W21C is involved in the usability, pilot testing, and random clinical trials of the web portal.

W21C Lead Supported

Certificate Course in Patient Safety & Quality

Launched in 2010, this course focuses on education for physicians, nurse, pharmacists and other health care professionals to better standards of patient safety and quality in their work environment. The course is now offered through live, online interactive sessions creating access to the course for participants from across Canada.

W21C Lead Supported

Portable Biofeedback Tool to Reduce Physician Stress

The W21C Wellness team conducted a Randomized Controlled Trial (RCT) to see if a portable biofeedback tool can help reduce physician stress. The quantitative study results were published and found that the device may be a simple and effective stress reduction tool for some physicians to add to their coping strategies. Current project work includes a plan to train a wide variety of medical professionals to use the HeartMath program.

W21C Lead Supported

AHS Clinical Networks

Members of the W21C conducted a pilot study to provide a comparative description and analysis of two clinical networks (CNs) in Alberta. The results provided an in-depth understanding of the similarities and differences in structure and process between CNs, their influence on CN success and description of CN outcomes. These findings were shared with Alberta Health Services to inform the development of strategies and favorable conditions to enhance the evolvement of their CNs. A larger proposed study of four CNs in two settings with similar accountability structures and different contexts will use a case study approach to conduct an in-depth comparative analysis and evaluation.

W21C Lead Supported

Course for Investigating Adverse Events in Health Care

W21C is developing a course to investigate adverse events with the Office of Continuing Medical Education at the University of Calgary and the Health Quality Council of Alberta. This course teaches a systematic systems analysis adverse events, and how to makie health care delivery recommendations. The course will pilot in Calgary, AB, then launch as a national learning initiative.

Industry Supported Research

TRLabs and Tablets

This project looks at how tablet technologies can be used at the patient bedside to enhance decision-making and communication. Research phases include a snapshot scan of available healthcare appplications for various platforms, a literature review, and focus groups with attending physicians, residents, nurses and medical students to gather perceptions around the usefulness and barriers to the use of tablets in healthcare.

Industry Supported Research

Sagatech

The W21C has partnered with Sagatech to conduct heuristic evaluations of its sleep monitoring web interface.  Results included immediate feedback for user interface improvements of the sleep monitor web portal.

Industry Supported Research

Nanospeed

Nanospeed has developed a Point-of-Care-Testing product, Test4D™, that the W21C will be evaluating. The purpose of this study is to determine whether the Test4D™ accurately reports the level of Vitamin D in human blood samples comparable to testing completed as usual (e.g., at Calgary lab Services).

Industry Supported Research

XSENSOR

W21C has partnered with XSENSOR® Technology Corporation to assist their development of the ForeSite™ pressure imaging system. The system is a thin flexible mattress overlay designed to monitor, record and analyze patient interface pressure on a hospital bed. W21C has conducted focus groups, heuristic evaluations, usability testing and clinical testing to provide feedback from potential end users on different device prototypes.

Industry Supported Research

Cleankeys

Working with Cleankeys, and AHS Infection Prevention and Control, the W21C conducted a large scale microbiology study and usability testing with the Cleankeys keyboard in a hospital environment. Results suggest that hospital keyboards are highly contaminated and that washable keyboards (such as Cleankeys) offer distinct hygiene advantages.