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Two INSPIRE-ing new innovations to be implemented at Holland Bloorview

Funding enables scientists to create a world of difference for clients and families

Clinicians, scientists, researchers, and leaders at Holland Bloorview are always creating innovations and resources to help clients and families live healthier, fuller, and more meaningful lives. Innovation for System Partnerships, Implementation and Evaluation (INSPIRE) has provided funding of up to $25,000 for projects that will support real-world adoption of innovative solutions and tools developed by Holland Bloorview staff for Holland Bloorview staff, clients, and families. The goal of the INSPIRE funding is to support feasible new interventions, products, or technologies that address clinical or operational gaps within the hospital.

The INSPIRE award was generously supported by the Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital Foundation. Thanks to the support of donors, the Foundation was able to provide funds to implement these interventions, products, and technologies at Holland Bloorview and beyond. Two recipients for the funding were selected by a committee of representatives from various hospital units as well as family leaders: Joanne Maxwell, senior director of collaborative practice, and Dr. Azadeh Kushki, senior scientist at the Bloorview Research Institute (BRI).

The Social Needs Screening Tool

Holland Bloorview’s new strategic plan includes a commitment to providing care that is socially accountable and access to services that are more equitable. In 2020, Joanne Maxwell and her team developed the “Social Needs Screening Tool and Family Navigation Hub” to identify the most pressing client and family needs in relation to social determinants of health. The tool focuses on helping clients and families navigate childcare, health-related costs, housing stability, and other unmet needs by connecting them with community resources.

Joanne says the funding allows her team to scale their efforts in identifying the pressing needs of clients and families and developing community partnerships so that families can access the support they need.

“Addressing social needs for all families in a systematic, evidence-informed way, is critically important. INSPIRE funding will accelerate our efforts to increase internal awareness and visibility of the unmet social needs facing our families. It will help us to ensure safer care transitions and avoid interruptions in care, or delays to discharge that can occur when social needs are identified too late. The grant is an important demonstration of Holland Bloorview’s commitment to addressing health inequities.” 

Through INSPIRE, the tool’s implementation will be accelerated across Holland Bloorview, including more workshops and community connections.

Aman Sium, vice president, experience, transformation & social accountability says: “At Holland Bloorview, we work to ensure our services are socially accountable and are meeting the diverse needs of our clients and families. INSPIRE funding will be a tremendous asset to better support the unmet social needs of clients and families. Congratulations to Joanne and her team on this incredible accomplishment!”


Holland Bloorview’s new strategic plan includes a commitment to personalized care. However, tools that allow us to capture the individual and unique experiences of children outside the hospital walls in real-time are lacking. This is especially the case for tools that capture the emotional states of children in between clinical appointments and personalized sources of distress in real world settings. These tools can help inform personalized care plans and provide clinicians and families with real world information to evaluate the effects of a particular support or intervention. Dr. Azadeh Kushki and her team recognized this gap and developed hollyTM, an app that visualizes children’s emotional states and allows caregivers to log the associated behaviours and environmental triggers. hollyTMuses measurements of the child’s heart rate using a smart watch to determine emotional states and a mobile phone to display this information. hollyTM is currently used by over 400 individuals across 25+ care organizations with great success.

Dr. Kushki highlighted that the INSPIRE funding will enable the team to get this device to kids at Holland Bloorview.

“The INSPIRE funding will allow us to evaluate the feasibility and implementation of hollyTM at the Holland Bloorview Psychopharmacology Clinic. If successful, hollyTM can provide clinicians an additional source of information to understand children’s experiences outside of the clinic and the impact of interventions on these experiences.”

The patented algorithm hollyTM employs can allow clinicians to gain real-world data to inform clinical decision-making, ultimately supporting social inclusion and better quality of life for clients.

Dr. Evdokia Anagnostou, director of the BRI and VP of research, says “We are excited for Dr. Kushki’s innovative work to be implemented at Holland Bloorview and beyond. hollyTM has already made a significant impact on clinicians and clients alike through its ability to utilize real-world data to inform personalized solutions and supports. The INSPIRE funding will allow the team to continue this important work, which will certainly have a long-term impact for children and youth with disabilities and developmental differences. Congratulations to Azadeh and her team!”