MaRS Opioid Data Challenge: The FAST Reporting System

Michael Whyte, Health Promotion Specialist

The MaRS Opioid Data Challenge

  • “MaRS is a launchpad for start-ups, a platform for researchers and a home to innovators.” – MaRS Discovery District, 2019
  • In partnership with the Government of Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada
  • Tasked individuals and organizations to design an innovative approach to collecting opioid overdose information

The FAST Overdose Alert Platform

The FAST Overdose Alert Platform  logo indicates it stands for "flexible, accessible, scalable, timely"

  • Our design for the MaRS Opioid Data Challenge
  • Designed in partnership with the Wellington Guelph Drug Strategy
  • Leverages the knowledge of community partners and organizations

Flowchart of steps from when substance use incident occurs

Flowchart content:

  1.  Substance use incident/overdose occurs
    • Details are shared with community partner
    • Emergency services/community partners respond
  2. Event Details Entered into FAST System
    • Email update sent to select partners regarding event details
  3. Data analyzed by Public Health Staff
    • Event details are aggregated and shared back with community partners weekly/quarterly
  4. Decide, with community partners, whether an alert is needed

Why this system is so important

  • Previous sources didn’t allow for timely alerts
  • New system collects information in real-time
  • Quick and timely response to dynamic shifts in drug supply
  • Rapid dissemination of information to alert the community of contaminated/potent supply

Other benefits

  • Meaningful insights into a sub-group difficult to reach
  • Creates a coordinated community platform for action including police, harm reduction agencies, shelters, public health, etc.

Screen shot of the FAST Overdose Alert Platform showing number of incidents, number of times 911 called, average age, location, substances involved, number of incidents by gender, incidents by time of day and incidents by age group

MaRS Challenge – Phase 2

  • Awarded a Phase 1 finalist position for our entry (of 5)
  • $10,000 Prize
  • Entry into Phase 2 of the Challenge
  • Phase 2 asks to identify how this system can be adapted for other communities
  • We’ve partnered with
    • Public Health Agency of Canada, Whitehorse, YT
    • North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit, ON
    • Brant County Health Unit, ON

MaRS Challenge Phase 2

  • Up to Two Finalists:
  • National Recognition
  • $50,000 Prize•Winners announced on June 27th