Innovation energizes the healthcare sector and allows it to keep moving forward year after year. Here in Ontario, there are plenty of examples of creative, strategic innovation — often in our own backyard. Forward-thinking businesses are helping the med-tech secor thrive, evolve and grow, contributing to improvements in everything from research and education to software, advanced medical products and patient care.
Sometimes, behind-the-scenes elements of medical science are some of the most complex yet necessary parts of a process. This is the case with QC Integrated — a med-tech organization that uses automated testing to ensure the compliance of medical electrodes used in electrocardiograms (EKGs) and other common diagnostic practices. These hardware- and software-based tests enable electrode designers and quality assurance professionals to access critical data in a timely manner, identifying problems and ensuring that patient results are accurate. Known as the SEAM Test Platform, it’s a reliable, effective way to ensure quality of care at the test level and minimize equipment downtime — something that benefits all areas of healthcare.
A substantial number of biomedical materials require freezing for storage or transportation, but ice can sometimes damage these materials, ultimately rendering them useless. Cryostasis uses decades of med-tech innovation to provide biomedical kidney or stem cell preservation for up to seven days without the use of ice. They use a novel cold chain management process that leverages unique shock inhibitors and membrane protectants to preserve various biomedical materials, plus proprietary devices to store and transport materials without breaking the chain. Cryostasis is also seeking a patent for proprietary technology that allows longterm, ice-free biomedical preservation. In their own words, “our technology rejects a commonly held belief that in order to preserve life, we must freeze it.”
The science behind Cryostasis technology began more than 40 years ago when biochemist Olga Kukal first discovered the scientific findings that would eventually lead to today’s understanding of biomedical preservation possibilities. In collaboration with her husband, physical chemist Tom Allen, Kukal greatly advanced medical research and helped reveal new ways to preserve live materials without causing cellular damage. Cryostasis strives to continue her research and honour her work — a noble mission.
Spectra Plasmonics, located in Kingston, Ont., enables lab-grade testing to identify the elements of unknown drug combinations and prevent overdose harm, anytime and anywhere it’s needed. Amplifi ID drug analysis kits, developed by a team at Queen’s University, work in under ten minutes with no complex setup or reporting, and can flag trace amounts of fentanyl, benzodiazepines and other harmful substances. Think of it like a COVID-19 rapid test, but for chemical drugs. It’s a quick, effective, user-friendly solution that anyone can use — healthcare professionals, emergency response personnel, community leaders and harm reduction workers, for example. And because Spectra also offers a digital analysis network in addition to testing kits, you can review regional data to better understand the landscape of dangerous street drugs in your region.
The future of med-tech depends, in part, on how today’s leaders pass on their knowledge, research and passion to the next generation of healthcare professionals. Elentra is dedicated to strengthening the capabilities of medical education facilities by providing an exceptionally thorough platform for assessment, evaluation, reporting, clinical experience management, competency- based education and more. The software can simplify program delivery, reduce costs to educational facilities, streamline administration tasks and ensure consistent, high quality program oversight. It’s also been demonstrated to improve learning outcomes — a win for everyone involved.
Elentra offers a wide range of services and has a hands-on implementation team to help academic organizations integrate relevant systems. Their services are currently being utilized at a number of reputable medical schools within Canada and the United States, including Queen’s University, The University of Calgary, the University of Toronto, uOttawa, the University of British Columbia and Duke University, as well as a number of academic institutions located overseas. One thing is certain: For a local business, that’s a big global impact.
Illustration Credit: iStock/luckystep.