Remote cardiac care from everywhere
Brad Pope

​Brad Pope was one of the first patients to use Medly. It’s helped him get back to normal.

The first-of-its-kind Medly app is ushering in a new era of 24-7 patient monitoring thanks to the team at the Ted Rogers Centre for Heart Research at the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre.

Brad Pope was having a fairly routine day at work when he suddenly felt short of breath. This was alarming for Pope, a 47-year-old avid cyclist from Toronto. “It felt like I was climbing at a high altitude, dealing with thin air, and couldn’t catch my breath,” he recalls.

He went to a walk-in clinic, where he was referred for an echocardiogram and a stress test. It was after those tests that Pope was given grim news: heart failure. “In that moment, all I could think was, ‘I’m dying,’” he says.

After his local hospital sent him to the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre, he came under the care of Dr. Heather Ross, Division Head of Cardiology at the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre, Site Lead for the Ted Rogers Centre for Heart Research, Loretta A. Rogers Heart Function Chair and Pfizer Chair in Cardiovascular Research, who told him some hopeful news – he would get on his bike again. Pope managed his condition with medication, but a year later had the first heart attack he could feel. Emergency room staff told him he had a 95 per cent blockage of the left anterior descending artery. “Things were pretty critical,” he says.

After having emergency surgery to remove the blockage, he was told by Dr. Ross that a new remote monitoring application called Medly would help manage his condition.

Identifying problems early

Dr. Ross, along with Dr. Joe Cafazzo, Executive Director of University Health Network's eHealth Innovation and Wolfond Chair in Digital Health, developed and launched Medly in 2016. This tool is a heart failure monitoring platform that's accessed through a mobile app. Patients enter daily metrics, such as their weight, blood pressure and heart rate, and that information is assessed by a rules-based in-app algorithm in real time. An actionable feedback message – normal, caution or critical – is sent to patients, and if there is any indication of deteriorating health, the patient's care team can intervene quickly. Through remote monitoring, clinicians have access to continuous data, so treatment is not restricted to what is observed during hospital visits alone.