On May 1, 2019, Kayleigh Gordon was presented with the sixth annual “Kevin J. Leonard Award” by Kevin’s widow, Sandra Dalziel (picture above with Kayleigh and eHealth Innovation Lead, Dr. Joseph Cafazzo) in collaboration with University of Toronto’s Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation and eHealth Innovation, University Health Network. Sandra Dalziel reflects on the award, what it means and Kayleigh’s work below.
“I am very pleased to present the sixth annual “Kevin J. Leonard Award” to Kayleigh Gordon, PhD candidate, Health Services Research with a focus in Health Informatics.
Kayleigh is in the last phase of her research evaluating the impact of telemonitoring of health indicators for patients living with multiple chronic conditions including heart failure, diabetes and hypertension. Beginning Monday, this approach will be embedded in a new model of care, a Nurse Practitioner-led complex medical clinic comprised of a core team of interdisciplinary health professionals at the Peel Centre for Health and Wellness in Brampton. This clinic was set up to best meet the care needs of the patient population with multiple chronic conditions and to address the exceedingly high rates of Emergency Department visits in the community. Followed for 6 months to a year, patients are equipped with an understanding and ability to track and trend their multiple health indicators and to take action accordingly empowering them to be more effective partners in their own care.
As someone who lived with Crohn’s disease for over 40 years, and in later years, co-morbidities, Kevin advocated for patients to have timely electronic access to their health information for as he wrote, “patients can be more effective in managing their care because it allows them to work with their providers to respond earlier and more directly to the patients’ needs”. Patients know when ‘things are going south’ which, for Kevin, led to far too many ED visits as access to his health indicators was narrower in scope and care was silo-ed.
However, through this Nurse Practitioner-led clinic, an ongoing patient/provider connection is maintained through close patient monitoring, and patients can reach out to providers they know and who know them. For individuals with multimorbidity, their health issues do not always arise during traditional business hours, necessitating a 24/7 model of access to care while in the community. Quoting Kayleigh’s Award application letter, “…I wanted to explore technology solutions that might better monitor and manage patient care from home, before unnecessary exacerbations occur”.
“With her knowledge and understanding of both the patient and provider side gained through her professional and personal experiences, Kayleigh is well-positioned to make a difference in enhancing the patient/provider partnership which in turn will optimize the patient and their caregiver’s experience.”
Kayleigh also well understands it’s not just about the technology but rather the care of the patient and the role technology plays in supporting care, particularly with the sharing of health information between patients and providers as well as among providers. Kayleigh knows of what she speaks for along with pursuing her PhD, she works as a registered nurse at University Health Network. She is passionate about her profession and her experiences have played an important role in informing her research.
It resonated for me that Kayleigh is a nurse. Countless nurses cared for Kevin throughout his life, in hospital and in the home, along the continuum of care. And Kevin’s nurses also cared for me. We counted on their skills and expertise for Kevin’s recoveries, and were uplifted by the nurses’ personal gestures and emotional support during difficult times.
In speaking with Kayleigh last week in preparation for today’s Award presentation, her passion, compassion and fierce advocacy for her patients are clear. With her knowledge and understanding of both the patient and provider side gained through her professional and personal experiences, Kayleigh is well-positioned to make a difference in enhancing the patient/provider partnership which in turn will optimize the patient and their caregiver’s experience.
Presenting this annual Award affords me the opportunity to share parts of Kevin’s story and advocacy work and I know Kevin would have been thrilled to see the progress being made in digital health since his passing in 2013″.