Person with lived heart failure experience self managing their care using the Medly app.

The Ontario healthcare system is under strain, still recovering from the demands of the COVID-19 pandemic. The University Health Network (UHN) and Boehringer Ingelheim (Canada) Ltd. have partnered to address a critical need of heart failure patients.

The objective of the partnership is to expand patient reach of UHN’s successful Medly Program— an innovative, digital therapeutic solution that delivers the benefits of specialized clinical heart failure management at home while improving quality of life and reducing hospitalizations.

“This is an important partnership for UHN.  It allows us to continue to demonstrate the value of Medly in expanding its use to additional sites and adapt it to new models of care,” says Dr. Joseph Cafazzo, co-inventor of Medly and UHN Executive Director of Biomedical Engineering. “It was always our goal to improve access through the development of Medly, especially where there continues to be a lack of expertise for advanced heart failure care. Partnering with Boehringer Ingelheim Canada will allow us to deploy Medly to those who would otherwise do without, and help them avoid hospitalizations, living as much as possible at home.” 

The Medly Program is the standard of care at UHN since 2016 and peer reviewed research has demonstrated the Medly Program led to a 50% reduction in the number of heart failure-related hospitalizations and a 24% reduction in all-cause hospitalizations. Medly’s virtual care model, in conjunction with this unique partnership, provides an opportunity to scale the program beyond the walls of UHN and the therapeutic area of heart failure, in addition to bringing much needed change to the Ontario healthcare system.

Boehringer Ingelheim is contributing both financial resources and in-kind consultative services that extends from strategic planning to project management and communications/marketing resources. Its team of dedicated health solutions professionals collaborate with project partners to identify and facilitate connections to help scale and spread the project to other organizations throughout Ontario and across Canada.

“This partnership delivers innovative, digital healthcare solutions to patients faster, improves health outcomes, and brings sustainable and transformative health system change to Ontario,” says Andrea Sambati, President and CEO of Boehringer Ingelheim Canada. “Together, we are not only impacting patients’ lives today but showcasing an opportunity to improve our healthcare system for everyone.”

One Medly nurse can support up to 250 patients, with active engagement of the patient and collaboration with cardiologists and family physicians. The epidemic of heart failure requires scalable and sustainable technology that can reduce the cost spent on disease management, all of which can be achieved with Medly. The pragmatic and collaborative mindset of the partnership supports strategies tailored to meet local healthcare needs, deliver solutions designed to advance clinical priorities while improving quality of life for patients. In addition, leveraging digital healthcare solutions increases access to care for all patients no matter their location and addresses health inequities by bridging healthcare gaps.

The forward-thinking approach of the unique partnership mitigates risk for the public health sector by absorbing costs and testing success, while propelling it into a space of innovation to achieve better health outcomes.

UHN’s and Boehringer Ingelheim Canada’s partnership is expanding Medly to smaller Ontario communities, aiming to increase access to speciality services. Access to Medly is a lifeline to heart failure expertise and ongoing management, essential for patients who can’t easily visit a cardiologist or even their family physician.