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George Brown College teams with Tenet Computer Group and Bridgepoint Health to launch innovative emergency preparedness software

George Brown College's School of Emergency Management Emergency Operations Centre.

Through George Brown's partnership with Tenet Computer Group, which is funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) and the Colleges Network for Industry Innovation (CONII), the School of Emergency Management collaborated with Bridgepoint Health to help test and implement innovative emergency management software. In two separate assessments at Bridgepoint Hospital, a division of Bridgepoint Health, and the Emergency Operations Centre at George Brown College, the only simulation facility of its kind in Canada, Tenet's PINpoint™ for BlackBerry® was successfully tested. The application allows healthcare providers, working to contain and limit damage, injury and death, to quickly share any information related to breaking public crises.

"We were very fortunate to have Bridgepoint Health on-board as a partner to help assess our solution, and George Brown's support for the implementation, testing and pandemic simulation has been a critical component in the application's success," said Carlos Paz-Soldan, President, Tenet Computer Group Inc. "This partnership provided us with the opportunity to test very real scenarios that require emergency response in a hospital setting, such as the H1N1 outbreak or even an event like Hurricane Katrina, helping to mitigate the risk of a crisis."

"The simulated escalating pandemic scenario was a crucial part of the test phase as it allowed us to gauge interoperability. We were able to simulate the challenges and abilities of multiple organizations – in this case key hospital departments and administrators with the integration of simulated roles from Public Health, the Ministry of Health's Local Health Integration Networks and others – to work together in the case of an emergency," says Patricia Marten-Daniel, Chair, School of Emergency Management. "The simulation also served as a reminder of the importance of consequence management – the measures taken to protect public health and safety, to restore essential services and to provide emergency relief to those affected in an emergency situation."

Tenet's PINpoint application facilitates interoperability by delivering up-to-date information, including critical documents and contact lists, to all designated BlackBerry smartphones. The application also automatically collects information from internal or external systems and pushes it to the smartphones – and this pushed information is stored in the Blackberry's cache memory, so it is available if systems are down or unreachable.

"As a healthcare provider that works on the front line of events such as the recent H1N1 outbreak, Bridgepoint has a critical role to play in helping to minimize and prevent the spread of infectious disease. We welcome the opportunity to help assess and implement innovative technology that will help us manage this kind of risk," said Jane Merkley, Vice President and Chief Nursing Executive, Bridgepoint Health. "With the help of Tenet and George Brown, we are bringing together the best in technology innovation, research and education in order to build a stronger, healthier community."

The collaboration is the latest initiative of George Brown College's Office of Applied Research and Innovation, fulfilling its mission to assist small and medium enterprises in expediting the development, refinement and marketing of new technologies and services.

"George Brown College is committed to playing a vital role supporting innovation in the Greater Toronto Area, and this collaboration with Tenet not only benefits Bridgepoint as a key business partner, but has the potential to play a significant role in helping the community save lives and mitigate the effects of emergencies," says Robert Luke, Assistant Vice President, Office of Applied Research and Innovation. "In assessing the design and utility of the application in a controlled environment, we were able to pinpoint key benefits and potential gaps to help our partners improve their ability to respond swiftly to critical situations."