A platform for better health
Osler Technology, based in Noosa, Queensland, is focused on delivering students, doctors, nurses and paramedics around the world the best chance of delivering the best patient care possible. Dr. Todd Fraser, an intensive care and retrieval medicine specialist, believes a better approach is possible for medical professionals and students to achieve excellence in acute patient care. After several years piloting solutions with numerous hospitals and individual clinicians around the world Dr. Fraser has combined his experience and passion in Osler –a Clinical Performance Platform with global applications.
Many people have worries that keep them awake at night. For Dr Todd Fraser, the insomnia he had as the director of an intensive care unit become the inspiration for innovation.
After many sleepless nights, Dr Fraser’s idea has the potential to ensure better health care for everyone.
The problem that used to concern Dr Fraser on those long sleepless nights was the issue of ensuring how medical staff managed their ongoing competency and training.
“The non-stop nature of healthcare, 24-hour rosters, the continuous migration of staff between institutions as they train, the lack of standardisation of processes and the lack of consistent supervision all challenge our efforts to ensure all practitioners are competent,” Dr Fraser says.
“Sadly, avoidable errors result in an unmeasurable human burden, in addition to the financial cost. And it’s not just our patients — I think we do our junior staff a great disservice, placing them in highly vulnerable positions.
“All Queenslanders have an expectation and a right to receive the best possible health services. While healthcare professionals strive to deliver this, the system in which they work provides enormous challenges.
“Healthcare is inherently dangerous, but we can make it a lot safer. A lot.”
Dr Fraser and his colleagues Steve Sacks and Jeff Ayton founded Osler Technology in 2015 to produce Osler, a clinical passport that enables all healthcare staff to identify their strengths and competencies, and the areas in which they can improve.
Osler has two parallel business models, both of which were developed with the assistance of Advance Queensland funding. The direct-to-consumer model is used by about 1200 medical practitioners while the institutional model is used by an undergraduate university, a public teaching hospital and a private hospital from a large chain.
“Osler is a clear record of competence that allows users to migrate between facilities with a known and verifiable scope of practice,” Dr Fraser says.
“This means they are less likely to be required to perform tasks outside their scope, and less likely to be forced to retrain in skills they already have.
“No such record currently exists.”
Osler has been the recipient of two Advance Queensland Ignite Idea grants. Advance Queensland is the Palaszczuk Government’s $518 million whole-of-government initiative to transform the state’s economy, create knowledge jobs of the future and build Queensland’s reputation as a global innovation and investment destination.
“The first Ignite Ideas grant enabled us to complete our individual model and launch it to the market,” Dr Fraser says.
“The second has helped commercialise a patient-feedback portal, which allows individual clinicians to securely and anonymously capture feedback from their patients, for their exclusive personal use in improving their practice.
“The funding received from Advance Queensland has been incredibly valuable in finalising our product, stakeholder engagement, marketing and ultimately delivery of these key products. It has also helped Osler consolidate as a startup business, delivering jobs in regional Queensland.
“Furthermore, the funding helps ordinary Queenslanders — by helping healthcare staff deliver the best care they can, we all benefit.”
While technology innovations can be complex, the premise behind Osler is simple and readily understood.
“It goes without saying that to ensure patients are kept safe, clinicians should be adequately trained to perform hazardous tasks,” Dr Fraser says.
“Without clear records defining their competency, or where each learner is in their own training journey, it is impossible to ensure this basic tenet of patient safety is adhered to.
“A robust training process improves patient outcomes, prevents complications, reduces costs, improves on-boarding, reduces litigation, minimised staff turnover and improves efficiency of training.
Dr Fraser says Osler allows clinical managers to ensure that the right people are available and well trained to deliver the care they need to their patients. The catch phrase for Osler sums up its purpose: “I am ready”.
“To be able to deliver at the bedside, I need to be well trained with my procedures, I need to understand how well I’m doing them, I need to understand the latest literature, I need certain knowledge, I need to be aware of my local procedures, I need to be trained to use the local equipment, I need to be orientated to my workplace, and I need to know what my patients and peers think of my performance,” Dr Fraser says.
“A great example of this is our Advanced Life Support online simulation, where users can practice running a team that is caring for a patient in cardiac arrest.
“They have to analyse data (such as blood test results, the history, examination findings), then make decisions and perform actions to resuscitate the patient.
“Whether they pass or fail, they receive personalised feedback on their performance. They can repeat the exercise indefinitely, striving to maximise their performance. Osler has placed second in an international e-learning prize, highlighting the value of these learning resources.”
The potential for positive change is not limited to the staff and patients in Queensland’s health system.
“This issue is a global one,” Dr Fraser says, highlighting the key point that defines any true startup.
“It crosses all specialties, from the most junior clinicians through to retirement. It is just as relevant to nurses, doctors, paramedics and allied health. There are literally hundreds of millions of users globally who could benefit from this platform.
“Part of our Advance Queensland Ignite Ideas grants have gone towards validating that there are no adequate solutions available anywhere in the world. Australia holds a very unique position in health, with a reputation for high quality training, a reputation we are well positioned to leverage.”
Having taken the journey to building a startup, Dr Fraser is happy to share the life lessons he has learned along the way.
“My first tip is that there is little substitute for experience,” he says.
“A range of resources exist and there are many innovation incubators that can put you in touch with people to help.
“Each idea will have its own needs and challenges, but it is critical to have access to people who have created successful businesses in the past. There is no doubt that unless your idea taps into something magical, it is a long, hard road to success, and you need to make sure you squeeze everything you can out of your resources. A guiding hand is invaluable.
“My second is, believe in yourself! There will be many knocks along the way, but as they say: “Whether you think you can, or think you can’t, you’re right!”.
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