W21C Research and Innovation Centre | Annual Report 2020 - 2021

The theme of this report is Connection, Collaboration, and Community. W21C has over 60 active projects, and this report features just a few of our research and innovation activities from April 1, 2020 – March 31, 2021.

The theme of this report is Connection, Collaboration, and Community. W21C has over 60 active projects, and this report features just a few of our research and innovation activities from April 1, 2020 – March 31, 2021.


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<strong>W21C</strong> <strong>Research</strong> <strong>and</strong><br />

<strong>Innovation</strong> <strong>Centre</strong><br />

<strong>Annual</strong> <strong>Report</strong><br />


Contents<br />

2 Message from the Directors<br />

3 About <strong>W21C</strong><br />

4 Impact Metrics: Year in Numbers<br />

5 Celebrating our Milestones<br />

18 Thank you<br />

<strong>Research</strong> Impact<br />


Creating local <strong>and</strong> global partnerships to enhance safety for patients, providers,<br />

<strong>and</strong> communities during the global p<strong>and</strong>emic<br />

7 Global study investigates decontamination methods for medical masks<br />

9 <strong>Research</strong>ers investigate drone delivery of medical supplies, equipment, treatments,<br />

<strong>and</strong> diagnostic testing to remote First Nations communities during p<strong>and</strong>emic<br />

12 <strong>Research</strong>ers explore health system preparedness in acute <strong>and</strong> primary care settings<br />

12 University of Calgary drug discovery aims to reduce inflammation in COVID-19<br />

patients: Metablok clinical trial<br />


Supporting academics, clinicians, entrepreneurs, <strong>and</strong> industry to respond to changing<br />

health system needs in a digital world<br />

13 SPARK Calgary: A success story<br />

14 Digital health platform aims to reduce antimicrobial resistance: Firstline<br />

14 Software platform focuses on enhancing stroke treatment triage: StrokeSENS<br />


Working together with patients, families, <strong>and</strong> providers to make care better<br />

15 The Impact of COVID-19 on family caregivers for persons living with dementia<br />

Message<br />

from the Directors<br />

You cannot truly test the foundations of something until<br />

adversity hits, <strong>and</strong> there has never been a truer test than<br />

during a global p<strong>and</strong>emic.<br />

This past year has taught us so much. We have experienced<br />

the isolation, fear of the unknown, changes in the rules<br />

for how we live, <strong>and</strong> a completely new way of working.<br />

In spite of these challenges, we were blown away by how<br />

much our team <strong>and</strong> our partners continued to thrive in<br />

this new world. They did what they do best—they came<br />

together, found creative ways to connect, <strong>and</strong> figured out<br />

how to adapt to keep our <strong>Centre</strong> moving forward.<br />

Connection. Collaboration. Community.<br />

Three words that describe the heart of <strong>W21C</strong>.<br />

They inherently define the spirit of the people we work<br />

with every day, people that drive <strong>W21C</strong> <strong>and</strong> health<br />

systems research: our dedicated research staff, clinicians<br />

<strong>and</strong> health-care providers, academics, entrepreneurs,<br />

patients, <strong>and</strong> their families. Together, they continue to<br />

explore new ways to keep us all safe during this global<br />

health crisis.<br />

<strong>and</strong> resilience of Alberta Health Services, where <strong>W21C</strong><br />

began in 2004, <strong>and</strong> who we continue to partner closely<br />

with. And they highlight the work of our larger innovation<br />

ecosystem partners provincially, nationally, <strong>and</strong> globally.<br />

Through connection, collaboration, <strong>and</strong> community,<br />

we identify care gaps, grow ideas, <strong>and</strong> break through<br />

obstacles to help transform health systems.<br />

On behalf of our team, we are excited to share this <strong>Annual</strong><br />

<strong>Report</strong>, which provides just a snapshot of some of our<br />

incredible research achievements for this past year. The<br />

partnerships highlighted in this report are the keystones<br />

of our <strong>Centre</strong>. They will continue to help us shape our<br />

research priorities, ensuring that new technology or<br />

system innovations help the people they are supposed to<br />

help, whenever <strong>and</strong> wherever they are needed.<br />

Now more than ever, we recognize what a privilege it is<br />

to be part of this amazing team, working every day to<br />

make care better.<br />

Jill de Grood, MA PMP (she/her)<br />

Director, Development <strong>and</strong> Partnerships<br />

Alex Baron, <strong>W21C</strong><br />

17 Alberta Health Services’ Assess, Treat, <strong>and</strong> Refer Coordination <strong>Centre</strong> They depict the strong networks we have built over the<br />

years through the O’Brien Institute for Public Health<br />

<strong>and</strong> are reflected in the University of Calgary’s Growth<br />

through Focus campaign. They showcase the strength<br />

Dr. Jaime Kaufman, PhD (she/her)<br />

Director, <strong>Research</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>Innovation</strong><br />

1 <strong>W21C</strong> <strong>Research</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>Innovation</strong> <strong>Centre</strong><br />

<strong>Annual</strong> <strong>Report</strong> <strong>2020</strong>–<strong>2021</strong><br />


About<br />

<strong>W21C</strong><br />

Who we are<br />

The <strong>W21C</strong> <strong>Research</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>Innovation</strong> <strong>Centre</strong> (<strong>W21C</strong>) is based in the University of Calgary’s<br />

O’Brien Institute for Public Health, <strong>and</strong> the Calgary Zone of Alberta Health Services.<br />

Impact Metrics:<br />

Year in Numbers<br />

April 1, <strong>2020</strong> to March 31, <strong>2021</strong><br />

42<br />

University academic faculty<br />

<strong>and</strong>/or alumni associated<br />

with research projects<br />

75<br />

Connections with<br />

companies to explore<br />

research services<br />

RESEARCH 60<br />

Active<br />

research projects<br />

What we do<br />

<strong>W21C</strong> aims to improve the health system by bringing new ideas, prototypes, <strong>and</strong> products<br />

into health care for testing <strong>and</strong> evaluation. <strong>W21C</strong>’s interdisciplinary research team provides<br />

evidence, feedback, <strong>and</strong> validation services.<br />

32<br />

Industry inquiries converted<br />

to active research projects<br />

6<br />

Prototypes for<br />

clinical evaluation<br />

16<br />

COVID-19<br />

projects<br />

Together we are making care better.<br />

Our core values<br />

<strong>W21C</strong> endeavours to create <strong>and</strong> maintain a positive <strong>and</strong> productive balance between<br />

learning, working, <strong>and</strong> living. We promote:<br />

10<br />

Technology<br />

innovation evaluations<br />

13<br />

Highly qualified<br />

personnel trained<br />

24<br />

On-going clinical trials<br />

(11 activated)<br />

Integrity <strong>and</strong><br />

Honesty<br />

To take responsibility for<br />

our own actions while<br />

expecting the same of<br />

others we interact with.<br />

<strong>Research</strong> <strong>and</strong> Service<br />

Excellence<br />

To go above <strong>and</strong> beyond<br />

<strong>and</strong> to pursue excellence in<br />

everything we do.<br />

Collaboration<br />

To believe in the power of<br />

working together to find<br />

solutions to challenging<br />

problems.<br />

Privacy <strong>and</strong> Confidentiality<br />

To protect the<br />

confidentiality of the<br />

information <strong>and</strong> data that<br />

has been entrusted to us.<br />

Respect<br />

To treat all individuals<br />

with respect, compassion,<br />

fairness, <strong>and</strong> dignity.<br />

Work-Life Balance<br />

<strong>and</strong> Wellness<br />

To encourage <strong>and</strong> empower<br />

individuals to adopt a<br />

work-life model that<br />

reflects the needs of their<br />

unique personal situations<br />

while enabling maximum<br />

productivity.<br />


Launch of<br />

SPARK Calgary<br />

New in-house<br />

lab collection service<br />

Top recruiting site<br />

for two international studies<br />


368<br />

Undergraduate <strong>and</strong><br />

graduate students<br />

participating<br />

in educational<br />

opportunities (class<br />

tours, presentations,<br />

<strong>and</strong> summer<br />

studentships)<br />

415<br />

Attendees at virtual events<br />

focused on entrepreneurship<br />

<strong>and</strong> health-care solutions<br />


29%<br />

44%<br />

5%<br />

123% increase in engagement<br />

15,000<br />

unique website visitors<br />

with international reach<br />

3 <strong>W21C</strong> <strong>Research</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>Innovation</strong> <strong>Centre</strong> <strong>Annual</strong> <strong>Report</strong> <strong>2020</strong>–<strong>2021</strong> 4

Celebrating our Milestones<br />

For over 17 years (2004–<strong>2021</strong>) <strong>W21C</strong> has been at the heart of health services research, working with<br />

academics, entrepreneurs, governments, non-profits, <strong>and</strong> companies to bring new ideas into health<br />

care. Highlights in research, education, collaboration, <strong>and</strong> entrepreneurship include:<br />

2004<br />

Opening of the Ward of the<br />

21st Century, a redesigned<br />

Unit 36 in the Special<br />

Services Building of the<br />

Foothills Medical <strong>Centre</strong>.<br />

Located within the Calgary<br />

Health Region (now part of<br />

Alberta Health Services),<br />

this “Living Laboratory”<br />

was the first of its kind<br />

in Canada.<br />

2008<br />

South Health Campus:<br />

<strong>W21C</strong> Human Factors<br />

researchers teamed up<br />

with Calgary Health Region<br />

to conduct simulations<br />

evaluating the proposed<br />

designs of four rooms<br />

before construction.<br />

Recommendations provided<br />

informed the final design of<br />

900 rooms.<br />

Vocera Device Evaluation:<br />

This h<strong>and</strong>s-free wireless<br />

communication solution<br />

was tested by <strong>W21C</strong> (with<br />

nursing staff) when it<br />

was first implemented<br />

within the Calgary Health<br />

Region. <strong>Research</strong> found<br />

the device improved work<br />

efficiency, communication,<br />

<strong>and</strong> continuity of patient<br />

care. Vocera is now used in<br />

hospitals across Alberta<br />

<strong>and</strong> internationally.<br />

2009<br />

Opening of the <strong>W21C</strong><br />

<strong>Research</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>Innovation</strong><br />

<strong>Centre</strong> <strong>and</strong> the shift to<br />

being part of the University<br />

of Calgary.<br />

2011<br />

ASL Mobile Eye: <strong>W21C</strong> was<br />

one of the first research<br />

teams to explore eye<br />

movements in health-care<br />

settings using the Applied<br />

Science Laboratories (ASL)<br />

Mobile Eye. This tetherless<br />

eye-tracking system,<br />

designed to be worn by<br />

research participants, helps<br />

to capture <strong>and</strong> record<br />

where health-care providers<br />

are looking during clinical<br />

procedures, while they<br />

interact with different<br />

health-care technologies.<br />

2012<br />

Launch of the <strong>W21C</strong><br />

Summer Student Program,<br />

which provides h<strong>and</strong>s-on<br />

research opportunities,<br />

education sessions, <strong>and</strong><br />

mentorship. To date,<br />

69 undergraduate <strong>and</strong><br />

graduate students have<br />

participated in the program.<br />

The beginning of local<br />

<strong>and</strong> global health care<br />

innovation academy<br />

event platforms (<strong>W21C</strong><br />

<strong>Innovation</strong> Academy<br />

<strong>and</strong> Global Healthcare<br />

<strong>Innovation</strong> Academy). These<br />

international partnership<br />

events support innovation<br />

in health care with scalable<br />

impact. <strong>W21C</strong> has hosted<br />

nine events within this<br />

platform.<br />

2013<br />

Alberta Ambulance<br />

Design: This study,<br />

conducted by <strong>W21C</strong> <strong>and</strong><br />

AHS Emergency Medical<br />

Services, evaluated how<br />

the design of ambulances<br />

impacted paramedics’<br />

ability to provide care<br />

during patient transport.<br />

Results continue to inform<br />

improvements to the rear<br />

patient compartment<br />

of Alberta ambulances,<br />

greatly improving safety for<br />

patients <strong>and</strong> paramedics.<br />

2015<br />

XSENSOR’s ForeSite<br />

PT System: <strong>W21C</strong><br />

conducted an independent<br />

r<strong>and</strong>omized controlled<br />

trial with XSENSOR’s<br />

pressure monitoring<br />

system (a mattress overlay<br />

for a hospital bed) to<br />

assess if the technology<br />

aids in reducing pressure<br />

experienced by patients.<br />

Pressure injury treatment<br />

costs Canadian hospitals<br />

more than $1 million<br />

each year. Prior to<br />

this clinical trial, <strong>W21C</strong><br />

worked with XSENSOR<br />

from initial concept<br />

to prototype creation,<br />

<strong>and</strong> commercialization;<br />

conducting focus groups,<br />

heuristic evaluations,<br />

usability, <strong>and</strong> clinical testing.<br />

2017<br />

Patient Portal Survey:<br />

This Alberta-wide<br />

study examined public<br />

perceptions regarding<br />

the use of online patient<br />

health portals to access,<br />

manage, <strong>and</strong> share health<br />

information. The results<br />

were shared with provincial<br />

decision-making bodies to<br />

inform decisions for online<br />

health platforms in Alberta.<br />

<strong>W21C</strong> receives the<br />

Societal Impact Award<br />

from the ASTech Foundation.<br />

WiTAT Technology<br />

Evaluation: This noninvasive<br />

thermometer<br />

allows for the continuous<br />

monitoring of a patient’s<br />

core body temperature. This<br />

flagship project proved the<br />

efficacy of the device <strong>and</strong><br />

involved a collaboration<br />

between <strong>W21C</strong>, University<br />

of Calgary’s Department<br />

of Electrical <strong>and</strong> Software<br />

Engineering (the developers<br />

of the device), <strong>and</strong> the<br />

Intensive Care Unit at<br />

Foothills Medical <strong>Centre</strong>.<br />

Physician Wellness: This<br />

foundational study in the<br />

Lancet, highlighted that<br />

the health <strong>and</strong> wellness of<br />

physicians is vital to the<br />

delivery of high-quality<br />

care. This study led to 15<br />

years of further research<br />

underst<strong>and</strong>ing the science<br />

of physician wellness <strong>and</strong><br />

the eventual launch of Well<br />

Doc Alberta in 2019.<br />

The Duke <strong>and</strong> Duchess<br />

of Cambridge visit <strong>W21C</strong><br />

as part of their national<br />

Canadian tour (the only<br />

university site they visited<br />

in Western Canada).<br />

Electronic Transfer of<br />

Care Tool: <strong>W21C</strong> partnered<br />

with AHS to develop <strong>and</strong><br />

test this web-based tool,<br />

which provides a complete<br />

summary of a patient’s<br />

hospital stay to community<br />

health-care providers. The<br />

clinical trial resulted in a<br />

tool that is now used in all<br />

Calgary adult acute care<br />

facilities. It has also been<br />

modified for applications in<br />

intensive care <strong>and</strong> surgery.<br />

Garden Loft Laneway<br />

House: <strong>W21C</strong> partnered with<br />

the University of Calgary’s<br />

School of Architecture,<br />

Planning <strong>and</strong> L<strong>and</strong>scape to<br />

evaluate the prototype of a<br />

laneway home <strong>and</strong> assistive<br />

in-home technologies to<br />

support aging-in-place. This<br />

cutting-edge design aims<br />

to help people live in the<br />

community longer, easing<br />

the burden on the health<br />

system <strong>and</strong> community.<br />

<strong>2020</strong><br />

SPARK Calgary program<br />

launches within <strong>W21C</strong><br />

to support digital health<br />

entrepreneurs (first<br />

Canadian site for the<br />

global SPARK network).<br />

5 <strong>W21C</strong> <strong>Research</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>Innovation</strong> <strong>Centre</strong><br />

<strong>Annual</strong> <strong>Report</strong> <strong>2020</strong>–<strong>2021</strong><br />



In addition to publishing in<br />

the peer reviewed journal<br />

Infection Control & Hospital<br />

Epidemiology, the DeMaND<br />

study was included in a<br />

December <strong>2020</strong> interim<br />

guidance report to the WHO<br />

on rational use of PPE for<br />

Riley Br<strong>and</strong>t, University of Calgary<br />

COVID-19 <strong>and</strong> considerations<br />

during severe shortages.<br />

The Calgary study team<br />

was featured in a January<br />

UCalgary News story that<br />

was picked up by CBC News,<br />

CBC Radio-Canada, <strong>and</strong><br />

Hospital News. A UCalgary<br />

‘In the Know’ video featuring<br />

Global study investigates decontamination<br />

methods for medical masks<br />

International research collaboration could help alleviate<br />

shortages of personal protective equipment<br />

JULIA MACGREGOR, <strong>W21C</strong><br />

Riley Br<strong>and</strong>t, University of Calgary<br />

Dr. Heyne <strong>and</strong> discussing the<br />

decontamination methods has<br />

received over 350 views.<br />

Personal protective equipment<br />

(PPE) is just as the name makes<br />

clear: personal. Like your toothbrush,<br />

you wouldn’t remove <strong>and</strong> share<br />

your mask or face covering with<br />

your colleague. But if masks can<br />

be decontaminated effectively <strong>and</strong><br />

then reused, you might. This practice<br />

would help combat future global<br />

supply shortages.<br />

<strong>Research</strong>ers at the University<br />

of Calgary were part of the<br />

Development of Methods for Mask<br />

<strong>and</strong> N95 Decontamination (DeMaND)<br />

study. This international multicentre<br />

study evaluated low-cost<br />

decontamination methods to maintain<br />

mask integrity <strong>and</strong> performance for<br />

health-care workers at the frontline.<br />

Masks, including N95 respirators, were<br />

put through two decontamination<br />

processes that are accessible for lowto<br />

middle income countries: dry heat<br />

<strong>and</strong> photodynamic inactivation—<br />

an antimicrobial process where<br />

the mask is sprayed with a nontoxic<br />

solution of methylene blue<br />

<strong>and</strong> then exposed to light, which<br />

creates reactive oxygen species<br />

that kill the virus responsible for<br />

COVID-19. Study results showed<br />

that the photodynamic inactivation<br />

method is effective in killing three<br />

coronaviruses, including SARS-<br />

CoV-2, while still maintaining<br />

mask integrity after five cycles of<br />

decontamination. These results were<br />

published in Infection Control &<br />

Hospital Epidemiology.<br />

“The decontamination methods<br />

we evaluated are low cost, easy<br />

to perform, <strong>and</strong> can be applied<br />

anywhere,” says Dr. Belinda Heyne,<br />

PhD, professor in the Faculty of<br />

Science <strong>and</strong> co-principal investigator<br />

of the Calgary study team. “We have<br />

demonstrated that photodynamic<br />

inactivation is effective in killing<br />

the virus <strong>and</strong> could now be used to<br />

decontaminate masks for safe reuse<br />

in any global setting.”<br />

<strong>W21C</strong>’s Human Factors team was<br />

the only study site to perform<br />

user acceptance testing of the<br />

masks with frontline health-care<br />

providers. They conducted visual<br />

checks, comfort assessments, <strong>and</strong><br />

took participants through a survey<br />

to gather perceptions on how the<br />

decontaminated mask would affect<br />

their ability to perform work, <strong>and</strong> the<br />

efficacy, safety, <strong>and</strong> trustworthiness<br />

of the mask.<br />

<strong>W21C</strong> was also a key player in<br />

bringing the DeMaND study<br />

to Alberta by securing study<br />

partnerships <strong>and</strong> collaborators from<br />

the University of Alberta, AHS, <strong>and</strong><br />

the University of Calgary’s Faculty of<br />

Science. The DeMaND global research<br />

consortium totalled involvement from<br />

13 organizations, universities, <strong>and</strong><br />

laboratories, including the World Health<br />

Organization (WHO) <strong>and</strong> Centers for<br />

Disease Control <strong>and</strong> Prevention.<br />

“In partnership with members of the<br />

global consortium, we are providing<br />

recommendations for countries <strong>and</strong><br />

settings who may not necessarily<br />

have access to sufficient PPE or<br />

limited decontamination facilities,”<br />

says Dr. John Conly, MD, professor<br />

in the Cumming School of Medicine<br />

<strong>and</strong> co-principal investigator of the<br />

Calgary study team.<br />

This global research was supported<br />

by Open Philanthropy, <strong>and</strong> the<br />

Alberta study sites were supported<br />

with funding from <strong>Innovation</strong>,<br />

Impact <strong>and</strong> Evidence, Alberta<br />

Health Services. The Calgary study<br />

was led by Dr. Belinda Heyne, PhD,<br />

Faculty of Science, <strong>and</strong> Dr. John<br />

Conly, MD, <strong>W21C</strong> <strong>Research</strong> <strong>and</strong><br />

<strong>Innovation</strong> <strong>Centre</strong>.<br />

7 <strong>W21C</strong> <strong>Research</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>Innovation</strong> <strong>Centre</strong><br />

<strong>Annual</strong> <strong>Report</strong> <strong>2020</strong>–<strong>2021</strong> | CONNECTION<br />



<strong>Research</strong>ers<br />

investigate drone<br />

delivery of medical<br />

supplies, equipment,<br />

treatments, <strong>and</strong><br />

diagnostic testing to<br />

remote First Nations<br />

communities during<br />

p<strong>and</strong>emic<br />

Riley Br<strong>and</strong>t, University of Calgary<br />


Leah Hennel, Alberta Health Services<br />

COVID-19 has stressed an already<br />

overburdened health-care system <strong>and</strong><br />

its resources. In the face of a global<br />

p<strong>and</strong>emic, having rapid access to<br />

supplies such as personal protective<br />

equipment (PPE), diagnostic<br />

equipment, <strong>and</strong> testing kits provides<br />

a greater ability to prevent, detect,<br />

<strong>and</strong> respond to COVID-19 outbreaks.<br />

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV),<br />

commonly referred to as drones,<br />

may prove to be a valuable tool for<br />

health-care services <strong>and</strong> remote<br />

communities in the battle against<br />

p<strong>and</strong>emics like COVID-19.<br />

<strong>Research</strong>ers at <strong>W21C</strong>, the Southern<br />

Alberta Institute of Technology<br />

(SAIT), AHS, <strong>and</strong> Alberta Precision<br />

Laboratories (APL) have partnered<br />

with the Stoney Nakoda Nations<br />

(SNN) to deliver medical equipment<br />

<strong>and</strong> test kits for COVID-19 to<br />

remote areas, <strong>and</strong> to connect<br />

these communities to laboratories<br />

more quickly using these remotely<br />

piloted aircraft.<br />

Testing for COVID-19 is one of the<br />

most effective tools against helping<br />

to limit its spread. Many remote<br />

communities in Canada do not have<br />

easy access to testing centres <strong>and</strong><br />

medical supplies to support rapid<br />

testing <strong>and</strong> containment. Drones are<br />

a way to help respond to that need.<br />

“Our reserve in Morley has multiple<br />

access points; however, our satellite<br />

reserves in Eden Valley <strong>and</strong> Big Horn<br />

are remote <strong>and</strong> a delivery system<br />

using drones could play a critical<br />

role in the health <strong>and</strong> safety of our<br />

communities,” says Ryan Robb, CEO<br />

of the Stoney Tribal Administration.<br />

“Like many remote Canadian<br />

communities, weather can play a key<br />

role, for example depending on the<br />

time of the year, ice roads <strong>and</strong> floods<br />

can create access barriers.”<br />

“In many areas of Canada, drones<br />

must be guided <strong>and</strong> monitored with<br />

the assistance of line of sight,” says<br />

Wade Hawkins, lead researcher<br />

at SAIT’s <strong>Centre</strong> for <strong>Innovation</strong><br />

<strong>and</strong> <strong>Research</strong> in Unmanned<br />

Systems (CIRUS) <strong>and</strong> co-principal<br />

investigator on the project. “With<br />

this partnership, we are working<br />

with Transport Canada to gain<br />

approval to move beyond visual<br />

line of sight, enabling us to fly from<br />

a lab or health centre directly to a<br />

remote community.”<br />

Over the past year, researchers<br />

conducted several successful test<br />

runs in remote SNN communities<br />

beyond visual line of site for the<br />

delivery of PPE <strong>and</strong> COVID-19 test<br />

kits. The samples were brought<br />

back to the provincial lab <strong>and</strong> were<br />

able to survive with no degrading<br />

of the specimen. They were also<br />

non-infectious <strong>and</strong> posed no risk to<br />

the public.<br />

Additionally, Dr. Andrew Kirkpatrick,<br />

MD, a trauma surgeon at the<br />

Foothills Medical <strong>Centre</strong>, worked<br />

with the team to deliver a portable<br />

9 <strong>W21C</strong> <strong>Research</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>Innovation</strong> <strong>Centre</strong><br />

<strong>Annual</strong> <strong>Report</strong> <strong>2020</strong>–<strong>2021</strong> | CONNECTION<br />



<strong>Research</strong>ers explore<br />

health system<br />

preparedness in<br />

acute <strong>and</strong> primary<br />

care settings<br />


NEW<br />


Over the past year, the study<br />

was published in two peerreviewed<br />

research journals.<br />

Other top accomplishments<br />

include 661 website <strong>and</strong><br />

social media content<br />

downloads <strong>and</strong> 197 social<br />

media posts—more than<br />

300% <strong>and</strong> 600% of target<br />

key performance indicators<br />

(KPI) respectively. This<br />

Leah Hennel, Alberta Health Services<br />

With the onset of the COVID-19<br />

p<strong>and</strong>emic, acute <strong>and</strong> primary care<br />

centres around the world needed<br />

to make rapid changes to clinical<br />

practices <strong>and</strong> policies to make<br />

sure health-care providers <strong>and</strong><br />

patients were kept safe. In Alberta,<br />

researchers from <strong>W21C</strong> <strong>and</strong> the<br />

University of Calgary’s School of<br />

Public Policy were on the ground on<br />

March 12, <strong>2020</strong>, working alongside<br />

incident management teams <strong>and</strong><br />

frontline clinicians as these new<br />

health system changes were being<br />

rolled out across the province. The<br />

interdisciplinary team-bringing<br />

clinical, human factors, <strong>and</strong> social<br />

science expertise together-observed,<br />

documented, <strong>and</strong> interviewed<br />

frontline health-care providers <strong>and</strong><br />

incident management teams to<br />

underst<strong>and</strong> how these policies were<br />

formed, transmitted, interpreted, <strong>and</strong><br />

implemented. Through this research,<br />

the study team provided real-time<br />

feedback <strong>and</strong> support to primary<br />

<strong>and</strong> acute care teams to improve<br />

practices <strong>and</strong> safety in clinical<br />

settings. This included support to<br />

develop an Infection Prevention<br />

<strong>and</strong> Control (IPC) Community of<br />

Practice—a community of primary<br />

care clinicians focused on identifying<br />

<strong>and</strong> adapting IPC protocols for their<br />

clinics in Calgary <strong>and</strong> across Alberta.<br />

Three papers from the study team’s<br />

portfolio of work were published in<br />

BMJ Global Health, PLOS One, <strong>and</strong><br />

BMJ Simulation <strong>and</strong> Technology<br />

Enhanced Learning.<br />

This research, supported by the<br />

Canadian Institutes of Health<br />

<strong>Research</strong> COVID rapid response fund,<br />

was led by Dr. Myles Leslie, PhD,<br />

School of Public Policy, <strong>and</strong><br />

Dr. John Conly, MD, <strong>W21C</strong> <strong>Research</strong><br />

<strong>and</strong> <strong>Innovation</strong> <strong>Centre</strong>.<br />

project was featured in a<br />

July <strong>2020</strong> UCalgary News<br />

article <strong>and</strong> UCalgary video<br />

that attracted external<br />

news coverage by the<br />

Calgary Herald, CTV via The<br />

Canadian Press, <strong>and</strong> CBC in<br />

the following months.<br />

ultrasound unit <strong>and</strong> is investigating<br />

its potential for further applications.<br />

“With this device, <strong>and</strong> access to a<br />

smartphone, with connectivity, a<br />

person can be guided remotely by<br />

an expert medical professional to<br />

perform an ultrasound on themselves<br />

or to have someone at the scene<br />

perform it on them,” says Kirkpatrick.<br />

“We’ve confirmed this system can<br />

be used to check for evidence of<br />

COVID-19 in the lungs, <strong>and</strong> I can see it<br />

being utilized for many other medical<br />

emergencies, from diagnosing broken<br />

bones to ruptured spleens.”<br />

<strong>Research</strong>ers are now in the final<br />

stages of testing <strong>and</strong> refining the<br />

St<strong>and</strong>ard Operating Procedures<br />

(SOP) or the drones beyond<br />

visual line of site in locations with<br />

different terrain, environmental<br />

conditions, <strong>and</strong> distances. SAIT<br />

will also be delivering flight school<br />

training for youth at SNN, with the<br />

goal of building the capacity for<br />

the local communities to administer<br />

<strong>and</strong> coordinate future flights.<br />

If this Calgary drone delivery<br />

initiative proves effective, Conly says<br />

the project could grow into a tool<br />

used nationally <strong>and</strong> even globally to<br />

respond to medical emergencies in<br />

remote <strong>and</strong> isolated areas.<br />

This research is supported by TransAlta Corporation, the World Health<br />

Organization (WHO), an anonymous donor, <strong>and</strong> the Nickle Family Foundation.<br />

The research is led by co-principal investigators: Dr. John Conly, MD, <strong>and</strong><br />

Dr. Barry Baylis, MD, <strong>W21C</strong> <strong>Research</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>Innovation</strong> <strong>Centre</strong>, Dr. Andrew<br />

Kirkpatrick, MD, AHS, <strong>and</strong> Wade Hawkins, SAIT.<br />

University of Calgary drug discovery aims to<br />

reduce inflammation in COVID-19 patients:<br />

Metablok clinical trial<br />

Sometimes a discovery made several<br />

years ago can find a new purpose.<br />

Metablok, a drug discovered<br />

<strong>and</strong> developed by University of<br />

Calgary researchers in the Arnie<br />

Charbonneau <strong>and</strong> Snyder Institutes,<br />

was originally created to reduce<br />

inflammation in the lungs <strong>and</strong> liver.<br />

Now the drug has found a new<br />

possible application to help prevent<br />

organ damage <strong>and</strong> acute kidney<br />

injury in hospitalized COVID-19<br />

patients. The company, Arch<br />

Biopartners, received federal funding<br />

to support the development of the<br />

drug commercially for COVID-19<br />

applications, with an international<br />

multi-centre clinical trial of 60<br />

patients. Dr. Alain Tremblay, MD,<br />

professor in the Cumming School of<br />

Medicine <strong>and</strong> principal investigator<br />

for the Calgary study site, was<br />

supported by <strong>W21C</strong>’s clinical trials<br />

team for participant monitoring<br />

<strong>and</strong> follow-up after the drug had<br />

been administered. The results<br />

from this study will inform the next<br />

phase of clinical trials with a larger<br />

number of participants to ensure it<br />

is safe <strong>and</strong> effective, with the goal<br />

of commercializing the drug <strong>and</strong><br />

adopting it into clinical practice.<br />

11 <strong>W21C</strong> <strong>Research</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>Innovation</strong> <strong>Centre</strong><br />

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SPARK Calgary:<br />

A success story<br />

Translating academic digital health innovations into clinical practice<br />

Often great innovations can get stuck in the research<br />

phase <strong>and</strong> do not make it out of the lab <strong>and</strong> into the<br />

h<strong>and</strong>s of those who need it. Launched in April <strong>2020</strong> <strong>and</strong><br />

led by Dr. Scott Kraft, MD, <strong>W21C</strong> <strong>Research</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>Innovation</strong><br />

<strong>Centre</strong>, SPARK Calgary helps academic researchers,<br />

post-doctoral scholars, <strong>and</strong> students with digital health<br />

innovations bridge that gap, increasing potential for<br />

these important ideas <strong>and</strong> discoveries to make it into<br />

clinical practice to benefit patients <strong>and</strong> the community.<br />

These digital health innovations include products such as<br />

mobile applications for patients, monitoring or diagnostic<br />

2<br />

cohorts<br />

launched<br />

15<br />

project presentations to<br />

industry advisors<br />



technologies, <strong>and</strong> data visualization software.<br />

SPARK Calgary is part of the SPARK Global network.<br />

Initiated in 2006 at Stanford University, SPARK Global is<br />

comprised of more than 60 academic institutions across<br />

six continents. <strong>W21C</strong> is the first <strong>and</strong> only Canadian site.<br />

In its first year, SPARK Calgary supported 11 digital health<br />

project teams with group mentorship from industry<br />

experts, educational seminars for product <strong>and</strong> business<br />

development, project management support, <strong>and</strong> in-kind<br />

<strong>W21C</strong> research services.<br />

$40K<br />

in Alberta Innovates<br />

<strong>and</strong> Calgary<br />

<strong>Innovation</strong> Coalition<br />

funding for the<br />

SPARK program<br />

12<br />

education sessions to<br />

297<br />

attendees<br />

Digital health platform aims to reduce<br />

antimicrobial resistance: Firstline<br />

Since the discovery of penicillin in<br />

1928, antibiotics have become a<br />

foundation for modern medicine,<br />

<strong>and</strong> continue to significantly improve<br />

our lives. However, years of overuse<br />

are causing increasing rates of<br />

antimicrobial resistance (AMR)<br />

around the world. A digital clinical<br />

decision support platform created<br />

by Canadian company Firstline<br />

Clinical, was developed to combat<br />

<strong>and</strong> prevent the overuse of broadspectrum<br />

antibiotics. Their goal is<br />

to become the worldwide digital<br />

steward to increase adherence to<br />

prescription guidelines <strong>and</strong> reduce<br />

AMR. <strong>W21C</strong> worked with Firstline<br />

to conduct a heuristic evaluation<br />

of their iOS <strong>and</strong> Android-based<br />

smart phone application (SApp),<br />

as well as the web-based content<br />

management system (CMS). More<br />

recently, Firstline has been working<br />

with <strong>W21C</strong> to customize <strong>and</strong> launch<br />

the application globally, <strong>and</strong> it is<br />

currently being used across Canada,<br />

the United States, Europe, Southeast<br />

Asia, <strong>and</strong> Africa. In Canada, the app<br />

is servicing over 400,000 healthcare<br />

providers, with nearly 300,000<br />

uses to date within AHS alone. The<br />

platform is customizable to local<br />

health guidelines <strong>and</strong> continues to be<br />

quickly updated to include relevant<br />

COVID-19 support pages. In <strong>2020</strong>,<br />

Firstline <strong>and</strong> their partners received<br />

over $4 million from Canada’s Digital<br />

Technology Supercluster to build<br />

a global knowledge network for<br />

infectious diseases, <strong>and</strong> to develop a<br />

software solution for researchers to<br />

harness COVID-related genomic <strong>and</strong><br />

clinical data. New versions are now<br />

being developed for the WHO as well<br />

as for use by veterinarians—creating<br />

impact in both human<br />

<strong>and</strong> animal health.<br />

11<br />

teams<br />

with over<br />

50<br />

Including students, PhD<br />

c<strong>and</strong>idates, post-docs, faculty<br />

Affiliated with or alumni<br />

of 8 academic institutions<br />

Spanning 9 university faculties<br />

22<br />

industry advisors<br />

from across Canada<br />

(BC, Alberta, Ontario)<br />

team members<br />

supported<br />


Innovate Calgary<br />

Platform Calgary<br />

Venture Mentoring<br />

Service of Alberta<br />

(VMSA)<br />

Life Sciences<br />

<strong>Innovation</strong> Hub<br />



Members = SPARK Stanford, Wyoming,<br />

Mexico, Colorado, Clevel<strong>and</strong> Clinic<br />

Aim to provide opportunities for team<br />

members <strong>and</strong> advisors to connect across sites<br />

Share best practices on SPARK<br />

Collaborate on educational programming<br />

$30k<br />

in funding secured by<br />

teams since joining<br />

SPARK Calgary<br />

335<br />

people engaged<br />

through public<br />

outreach events<br />

Software platform focuses on<br />

enhancing stroke treatment triage:<br />

StrokeSENS<br />

In Canada, stroke is the third<br />

leading cause of death <strong>and</strong> the<br />

leading cause of adult disability.<br />

Every year, there are over 50,000<br />

new strokes in our country—<br />

approximately one stroke every 10<br />

minutes. In 1993, neurologist Dr.<br />

Camilo Gomez coined a fundamental<br />

rule of stroke treatment, ‘time is<br />

brain.’ This rule still holds today,<br />

meaning that quick identification<br />

<strong>and</strong> accurate imaging interpretation<br />

are essential at front-line hospitals<br />

for the successful treatment of<br />

strokes. StrokeSENS, created by<br />

Circle Neurovascular Imaging Inc.,<br />

was designed specifically for this<br />

purpose. This software platform,<br />

developed by expert physicians,<br />

acts as a clinical decision support<br />

tool for non-stroke physicians in a<br />

variety of urban <strong>and</strong> rural locations.<br />

<strong>W21C</strong> was approached by Circle<br />

Neurovascular Imaging Inc. to<br />

perform a heuristic evaluation with<br />

design experts to help them enhance<br />

the overall usability of their platform.<br />

In the future, they hope to integrate<br />

StrokeSENS into the clinical pathway<br />

for stroke care. This tool could be<br />

used to enhance patient triage,<br />

providing information on key stroke<br />

indicators (aspects) <strong>and</strong> enabling the<br />

physicians to underst<strong>and</strong> whether<br />

a patient should go to a specialized<br />

acute stroke care centre for<br />

treatment (e.g., the Foothills Medical<br />

<strong>Centre</strong>), or if they can be cared for in<br />

other health-care facilities.<br />

ADDITIONAL <strong>W21C</strong><br />


STATS<br />

$1,925,254<br />

in external grants <strong>and</strong><br />

industry sponsored<br />

funding from 2018-<strong>2021</strong><br />

28 digital health<br />

projects supported<br />

Health <strong>Innovation</strong><br />

Platform Partnership’s<br />

Stage 1 Grant<br />

Launch of SPARK<br />

Calgary program<br />

13<br />

<strong>W21C</strong> <strong>Research</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>Innovation</strong> <strong>Centre</strong><br />

<strong>Annual</strong> <strong>Report</strong> <strong>2020</strong>–<strong>2021</strong> | COLLABORATION<br />



Sheena Bates is a fulltime<br />

family caregiver<br />

at home for her<br />

husb<strong>and</strong>, Paul, who<br />

lives with dementia.<br />

Daniel Gaetano is a<br />

full-time caregiver<br />

for his wife, Janet.<br />

Janet is living with<br />

dementia <strong>and</strong> resides<br />

in a long-term<br />

care facility.<br />

This research was<br />

featured in a March<br />

<strong>2021</strong> UCalgary News<br />

story that was then<br />

picked up by the<br />

Calgary Herald <strong>and</strong><br />

Calgary Sun, creating<br />

further awareness<br />

about the needs of<br />

family caregivers in<br />

Alberta.<br />

The Impact of COVID-19 on family<br />

caregivers for persons living with dementia<br />

<strong>Research</strong> highlights system gaps <strong>and</strong> family needs during COVID-19<br />

JULIA MACGREGOR, <strong>W21C</strong><br />

The p<strong>and</strong>emic has tested our resolve,<br />

posing restrictions on who we can<br />

see, what we can do, <strong>and</strong> where<br />

we can go. For family caregivers to<br />

people living with dementia at home,<br />

in long-term care or supportive living<br />

facilities, the p<strong>and</strong>emic has not only<br />

isolated them, but the critical care<br />

resources <strong>and</strong> social support systems<br />

they rely on have also been cut or<br />

dramatically reconfigured. This lack<br />

of support has continued throughout<br />

multiple waves of the virus in Alberta.<br />

Dr. Gwen McGhan, PhD, Faculty of<br />

Nursing, <strong>and</strong> Dr. Deirdre McCaughey,<br />

PhD, Cumming School of Medicine,<br />

with support from the <strong>W21C</strong><br />

<strong>Research</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>Innovation</strong> <strong>Centre</strong>,<br />

conducted a survey during the height<br />

of Alberta’s COVID-19 restrictions.<br />

<strong>Research</strong>ers heard from more<br />

than 200 Calgary area residents<br />

who look after people living with<br />

dementia. Results of the initial study<br />

highlighted the burden of COVID-19<br />

policies <strong>and</strong> public health restrictions<br />

on caregivers <strong>and</strong> their inability to<br />

support their loved ones.<br />

“Being a family caregiver is an unpaid<br />

<strong>and</strong> often unsupported role, but an<br />

essential role, nonetheless,” says<br />

McGhan, who is a registered nurse<br />

<strong>and</strong> principal investigator of the study.<br />

“Family caregivers provide physical,<br />

emotional, <strong>and</strong> financial support<br />

to a parent, spouse, neighbour or<br />

friend, <strong>and</strong> help them with essential<br />

everyday tasks they may not be able<br />

complete by themselves.”<br />

Family caregivers Sheena Bates<br />

<strong>and</strong> Daniel Gaetano have partnered<br />

with these University of Calgary<br />

researchers to generate awareness<br />

of these challenges <strong>and</strong> provide<br />

policy recommendations for future<br />

emergency planning.<br />

Sheena Bates is a full-time family<br />

caregiver at home for her husb<strong>and</strong>,<br />

Paul, who lives with dementia, <strong>and</strong><br />

the role is complex. “You always<br />

have to be on the ball, you are<br />

responsible,” says Bates. “You need<br />

to still respect their independence<br />

as much as you can. I keep reading<br />

<strong>and</strong> trying to learn more to help<br />

us <strong>and</strong> other people in the same<br />

position. It can be tough.”<br />

Bates has been providing full-time<br />

care for Paul at home since 2017,<br />

assisting him with tasks such as<br />

dressing, showering, shaving, <strong>and</strong><br />

toileting. Before the p<strong>and</strong>emic, Paul<br />

attended adult day programs, <strong>and</strong><br />

together they would participate<br />

in conversation cafes <strong>and</strong> other<br />

meetings for family caregivers <strong>and</strong><br />

their partners. They also received a<br />

few hours of respite care each week.<br />

COVID-19 halted all these supports.<br />

“Paul’s needs increased, at least<br />

partly because of no social contact,<br />

<strong>and</strong> that all falls on you,” says<br />

Bates. “We couldn’t see other<br />

family members or friends for some<br />

months; it was very isolating.”<br />

Daniel Gaetano has been a full-time<br />

family caregiver for his wife, Janet,<br />

since 2015, who is now in a long-term<br />

care facility. Before the p<strong>and</strong>emic,<br />

Gaetano would visit twice a day to<br />

support her at mealtimes, provide<br />

connection, <strong>and</strong> to keep her walking.<br />

With the restrictions he was unable<br />

to access the facility to provide care<br />

for Janet.<br />

“All of a sudden you have this big<br />

void. You are her caregiver; this is<br />

who you are, <strong>and</strong> this is what you do,”<br />

says Gaetano. “When that was taken<br />

away, you can’t really start anything<br />

else. You just have to wait until you<br />

can become her caregiver again.”<br />

The feedback from caregivers<br />

through this study has allowed<br />

the researchers to provide several<br />

policy recommendations to enhance<br />

community supports: maintaining<br />

tailored caregiving assistance <strong>and</strong><br />

resources; providing clear, correct,<br />

<strong>and</strong> concise information on public<br />

health protocols; <strong>and</strong> allowing family<br />

caregivers continued access to<br />

care recipients as they provide an<br />

essential role. As the virus continues<br />

to adapt <strong>and</strong> family caregivers wait<br />

for their resources <strong>and</strong> support<br />

services to resume, there is an<br />

ongoing need to underst<strong>and</strong> their<br />

experiences in order to guide future<br />

policy recommendations.<br />

“As an unpaid caregiver, fatigue<br />

<strong>and</strong> anxiety is still happening,”<br />

says Gaetano. “The p<strong>and</strong>emic has<br />

highlighted these issues for<br />

unpaid caregivers.”<br />

This research led by Dr. Gwen<br />

McGhan, RN, PhD, Faculty of Nursing<br />

<strong>and</strong> Dr. Deirdre McCaughey, PhD,<br />

Cumming School of Medicine,<br />

was conducted in partnership <strong>and</strong><br />

supported by the Alzheimer Society<br />

of Calgary, Dementia Network<br />

Calgary, Alzheimer Society of Alberta<br />

<strong>and</strong> Northwest Territories, the<br />

Drummond Foundation, <strong>and</strong> Alberta<br />

SPOR Support Unit.<br />

15<br />

<strong>W21C</strong> <strong>Research</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>Innovation</strong> <strong>Centre</strong> <strong>Annual</strong> <strong>Report</strong> <strong>2020</strong>–<strong>2021</strong> | COMMUNITY 16


Alberta Health Services’ Assess, Treat,<br />

<strong>and</strong> Refer Coordination <strong>Centre</strong><br />

Improving access to mobile medicine for health care<br />

<strong>W21C</strong> helped our<br />

program identify new<br />

process improvement<br />

ideas, which in turn<br />

allowed us to implement<br />

solutions that increased our<br />

overall efficiency <strong>and</strong> quality of<br />

care we provide to our patients.<br />

<strong>W21C</strong> was able to exp<strong>and</strong><br />

upon on our current patient<br />

care model by allowing us to<br />

step back <strong>and</strong> find previously<br />

unidentified patterns <strong>and</strong><br />

connections that turned into<br />

new ideas <strong>and</strong> solutions. The<br />

support the <strong>W21C</strong> provided our<br />

Community Paramedic program<br />

was fantastic <strong>and</strong> we continue to<br />

implement solutions based on<br />

the recommendations created by<br />

the <strong>W21C</strong> team.”<br />

Ryan Kozicky<br />

Director, EMS Mobile Integrated Healthcare<br />


<strong>W21C</strong> PROGRAM SUSTAINABILITY<br />

<strong>W21C</strong> acts as a research consultancy, supporting<br />

innovators from the health system, academic<br />

institutions, industry, <strong>and</strong> the public sector. We<br />

receive core operational funding from a variety<br />

of provincial, national, <strong>and</strong> international funding<br />

bodies, peer-reviewed granting agencies,<br />

corporate donors, <strong>and</strong> industry partnerships.<br />

This funding enables <strong>W21C</strong> to provide research<br />

expertise <strong>and</strong> lab infrastructure on a cost-recovery<br />

basis, allowing us to validate new technological<br />

solutions <strong>and</strong> applications in real health-care<br />

settings. We also receive grants supporting<br />

specific research projects. The funding received<br />

to date has strengthened our international<br />

reputation as a trusted <strong>and</strong> impartial source of<br />

high-quality research services <strong>and</strong> evidence—<br />

helping innovators bring new products to market<br />

<strong>and</strong> improving patient safety <strong>and</strong> quality of care in<br />

our health systems.<br />

<strong>W21C</strong> EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE<br />

We would like to thank the <strong>W21C</strong> Executive<br />

Committee, which is currently comprised of<br />

our founders <strong>and</strong> senior research faculty. This<br />

committee works closely with the directors to<br />

provide strategic guidance to the <strong>W21C</strong> <strong>Research</strong><br />

<strong>and</strong> <strong>Innovation</strong> <strong>Centre</strong>.<br />

ALEX BARON, <strong>W21C</strong><br />

The AHS Assess, Treat, <strong>and</strong> Refer<br />

(ATR) Coordination <strong>Centre</strong>, a<br />

community paramedicine program,<br />

provides an incredible service.<br />

Every day, their interdisciplinary<br />

team of patient coordinators (PCs),<br />

community paramedics, <strong>and</strong> on-call<br />

physicians strive to improve access<br />

<strong>and</strong> provide innovative approaches<br />

to mobile medicine for health care.<br />

ATR increases accessibility to primary<br />

<strong>and</strong> urgent care, by coordinating with<br />

local care practitioners to support inhome<br />

medical treatment for patients.<br />

Through this unique approach<br />

to patient care, the ATR reduces<br />

the burden on our health system,<br />

providing services traditionally<br />

requiring emergency medical<br />

services (EMS), emergency<br />

departments, or hospital admissions.<br />

In performing their duties <strong>and</strong><br />

completing their assignments, the<br />

ATR team works with a variety of<br />

software <strong>and</strong> digital tools. The ATR<br />

program managers were looking to<br />

underst<strong>and</strong> if these technological<br />

systems cause undue cognitive strain<br />

<strong>and</strong> inefficiency on their team.<br />

<strong>W21C</strong> worked with the ATR team to<br />

conduct a multi-phase evaluation<br />

of their technological systems. This<br />

project was conducted in two<br />

phases. In Phase 1, <strong>W21C</strong> identified<br />

information <strong>and</strong> communication<br />

technology requirements that<br />

would enhance performance <strong>and</strong><br />

satisfaction for the PCs. In Phase 2,<br />

the <strong>W21C</strong> Human Factors team<br />

sought to underst<strong>and</strong> <strong>and</strong> document<br />

the workflows, skills, <strong>and</strong> traits<br />

that PCs require to undertake their<br />

tasks <strong>and</strong> roles within the ATR<br />

Coordination <strong>Centre</strong>.<br />

Through observations <strong>and</strong> interviews<br />

with ATR staff in Calgary, the<br />

research team recognized that much<br />

of the work undertaken by the staff<br />

closely resembled that of an IT help desk ticketing<br />

system. They identified twelve core challenging<br />

tasks within the ATR program with the possibility<br />

for refinement. Working as the comm<strong>and</strong> centre for<br />

the entire South Zone, ATR staff would h<strong>and</strong>le such<br />

tasks as scheduling appointments, coordinating with<br />

care practitioners, <strong>and</strong> communicating with external<br />

health-care staff, just to name a few, with many of<br />

these tasks being repetitive <strong>and</strong> mentally tedious.<br />

<strong>W21C</strong> provided AHS with recommendations to<br />

alleviate the mental burdens for the staff members<br />

<strong>and</strong> suggested that greater investment in automation<br />

would further ease those challenges. These could<br />

be valuable as the Government of Alberta looks<br />

to merge the ATR program with other potentially<br />

similar programs in the future.<br />

John Conly, MD, Medical Director<br />

Barry Baylis, MD, Senior <strong>Research</strong>er <strong>and</strong><br />

Executive Committee Member<br />

William Ghali, MD, MPH, Senior <strong>Research</strong>er <strong>and</strong><br />

Executive Committee Member<br />

<strong>W21C</strong> is also supported by academic faculty<br />

conducting population or health systems research,<br />

<strong>and</strong> individuals working on the front lines of patient<br />

care. These leaders continue to identify gaps or<br />

opportunities within the health system <strong>and</strong> work<br />

with us to explore solutions. Please visit w21c.<br />

org/about for a full list of operations <strong>and</strong> research<br />

teams, academic faculty, <strong>and</strong> Unit 36 leadership.<br />

17<br />

<strong>W21C</strong> <strong>Research</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>Innovation</strong> <strong>Centre</strong> <strong>Annual</strong> <strong>Report</strong> <strong>2020</strong>–<strong>2021</strong> | COMMUNITY 18

GD01, TRW Building<br />

3280 Hospital Drive NW<br />

Calgary, AB T2N 4Z6<br />

Canada<br />

403.210.6975<br />

w21c@ucalgary.ca<br />

<strong>W21C</strong><br />

<strong>W21C</strong><br />

<strong>W21C</strong>, University of Calgary<br />

#makingcarebetter<br />

<strong>W21C</strong> is located on the traditional territories of the people of the Treaty 7 region in Southern Alberta.<br />

The City of Calgary is also home to Métis Nation of Alberta, Region III.

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