St. Michael’s researchers receive more than $4-million in federal funding to better understand the impact of COVID-19

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Original author: Christy Janssens

Published: June 25, 2020

Source: St. Michael’s Hospital

The federal government is awarding more than $4 million to four research projects from St. Michael’s Hospital exploring questions related to COVID-19.

The funding, announced Thursday, is part of a $109M investment over one year for COVID-19 research. This will support 139 research teams across Canada and will focus on accelerating the development, testing, and implementation of measures to mitigate the rapid spread of COVID-19 and its negative consequences on people, communities, and health systems.

These projects will explore why COVID-19 unfolded differently across Canadian provinces, how a short course of medication might help people recently exposed to COVID-19, what data can tell us about how to organize hospital services to produce better outcomes for COVID-19 patients, and how services might be adjusted to prevent drug overdoses during the pandemic.

The Government of Canada is providing the funding through CIHR and the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), in partnership with Alberta Innovates (AI), Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research (MSFHR), Research Manitoba (RM), Research Nova Scotia (RNS), Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation (SHRF), and the New Brunswick Health Research Foundation (NBHRF).

Here is a closer look at the GEMINI research program, one of the four research projects at St. Michael’s to receive funding.

How can hospitals best organize themselves to tackle COVID-19?

Hospitals needed to reorganize their systems during the pandemic to conserve resources such as PPE and ventilators. In this study, Dr. Amol Verma and Dr. Fahad Razak, both Scientists at the LKSKI, will use hospital data collected during the pandemic to understand how to better organize hospital care to produce the best possible outcomes for patients with COVID-19. The research will also inform how to maintain quality care for non-COVID patients during the pandemic.

Dr. Amol Verma and Dr. Fahad Razak

This research will be informed by data collected across seven hospitals in Ontario, with a plan to extend to collect data from 30 hospitals across Ontario by the end of 2020 – covering more than 70 per cent of the acute care hospital beds in the province. Billions of data points will be collected and analyzed using artificial intelligence methods through a partnership with the Vector Institute. Beyond the pandemic, this work will also offer insight into how the organization of hospital care affects patient outcomes. This research network will form the largest ‘big data’ hospital analytics partnership in Canada and one of few such examples globally.

View more research projects at St. Michael’s working to better understand the impact of COVID-19.