Medly Therapeutics’ platform is the work of co-inventors Drs. Heather Ross and Joseph Cafazzo, awarded UHN joint Inventors of the Year in 2022 for the technology. Medly transforms care for heart failure patients and offers remote care from anywhere. Medly includes a Health Canada approved medical device that reduces heart failure management costs and hospitalizations by 50%.
Developed at the University Health Network in concert with its Peter Munk Cardiac Centre (PMCC) and Centre for Digital Therapeutics as well as the Ted Rogers Centre for Heart Research, the Medly program is a first of its kind in Ontario and Canada. The program uses the Medly management algorithm developed by heart failure clinicians to rapidly assess and triage patients, and creates a new role in the heart failure care delivery model - a Medly coordinator role overseeing patient care.
Today, about 600,000 Canadians are living with heart failure*, a devastating disease with low life expectancy and high treatment costs. According to UHN’s Dr. Heather Ross, one of Canada’s top cardiologists and Division Head of Cardiology at the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre, that number is closer to one million, while one-in-five people over the age of 40 will experience heart failure. Challenges in treating HF include timing patient treatment with HF episodes; a lack of real-time, actionable patient data; and little patient involvement along the journey to better health.
The Medly Platform is an innovative digital self management and 24/7 monitoring technology for patients living with heart failure and a great example of UHN's leadership in developing and scaling digital health and AI solutions. Based on discoveries of UHN’s Drs. Heather Ross and Joseph Cafazzo, Executive Director, Biomedical Engineering, the Centre for Digital Therapeutics, and Healthcare Human Factors (HHF) at UHN, and Wolfond Chair in Digital Health, this fit-in-your pocket companion for heart care supports patients with multiple chronic conditions including congestive heart failure (CHF), hypertension and COPD – and can do so from anywhere.
*Source: Heart and Stroke Foundation.
Medly’s core technology powers an app already in use with more than 800 cardiology patients at the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre. To date, Medly has led to 50% fewer HF related hospitalizations, a 24% reduction in other hospitalizations and improved clinician to patient ratios. In addition to improved health outcomes, patients using Medly report greater self-management support, peace of mind, and a better relationship with their health care team.
“Today’s health system is too focused on treating patients once they become acutely ill and end up in hospital,” said Dr. Heather Ross, Division Head of Cardiology at the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre and co-inventor of the Medly platform. “Leveraging the incredible power of big data, artificial intelligence and predictive analytics, Medly provides a more proactive, scalable and affordable solution to manage the epidemic of heart failure.”
Based on core technology invented at UHN, Medly includes an application that can be used on hand-held devices such as smart phones, home medical devices and wearables to help individuals self-manage heart disease. Every day, patients enter key details such as their weight, blood pressure and heart rate and answer questions about their symptoms. Using a sophisticated, expert system and machine learning algorithms, Medly assesses health risks in real-time and notifies the patient's care team of any signs of deteriorating health. The app then triggers alerts to the health care team, which are presented alongside the patient's list of medications, lab results, graphs and contact information. Medly enables care providers to intervene proactively, before the patient would otherwise recognize a need to visit a clinic or hospital. The team is now working to incorporate additional features into the Medly platform, including an automated solution to optimize medication dosages based on data from patient visits.
“Patients have an immense capacity to care for themselves at home with the support of innovative digital solutions,” said Dr. Joseph Cafazzo, Executive Director, Biomedical Engineering, the Centre for Digital Therapeutics, and Healthcare Human Factors (HHF) at UHN. “By detecting changes in a patient’s status, Medly allows care providers to intervene earlier, before the patient needs to be re-hospitalized.”
Medly's technology forms the basis of Medly Therapeutics, a new venture partnership between Commercialization at UHN and Toronto Innovation Acceleration Partners (TIAP), scaling the technology for maximum patient impact.