Putting their heads together for health care innovation

Faculty of Applied Health Sciences

Putting their heads together for health care innovation

Community Health Sciences students Jacqueline Stevenson and Maria Le found themselves among the top five entries for the AFGA Healthcare Innovation Challenge. The challenge was focused on the role of technology and creation of innovative solutions for the current healthcare system. Over 500 individuals accounting for 60-70 teams registered from across Ontario. Among the top five finalists were teams from Laurier, McMaster and two from the University of Waterloo.

The competition was open to all majors- with competition from business, health sciences and engineering students. The team commented that they utilized a lot of knowledge acquired from the Public Health program for the challenge - everything from health literacy, prevention and promotion.

Jacqueline completed a biology degree in 2007, and is now in her final year of her second degree in Public Health. Jacqueline commented that, “Community Health Sciences is preparing me for jobs, the information is relevant, allowing for me to make an impact in the near future”

Maria is also in her final year of study in public health. She commented that the program “puts perspective on the current healthcare system”. She also commented on how this competition opened her eyes to the opportunities that are available in the private sector, rather then just focusing on the public system.

The challenged was posed by a question, which was:
What is a potential solution to a current challenge associated with universal access, privacy, and ease of use pertaining to disease diagnosis, medical treatment, and overall healthcare management?

The students focused on cardiovascular disease, which is the leading cause of death and disability in Canada. The recognition for more involved patients with this type of disease led the team to the solution “Home CoSyCAD (Home Communication System for those with Coronary Artery Disease). The application of the system would be initiated by either telephone or web browser, helping to improve disease management through:
- Improving the system between patient and physician
- Engaging patients in their own health
- Clear and accurate communication between patient and physician
- Providing online resources educating patients about their own health

The team wanted to challenge themselves with the opportunity to apply their knowledge in a creative way. Their creativity was rewarded as they were given numerous networking opportunities with industry representatives. Representatives included Agfa HealthCare, SunLife Financial, Research in Motion, Christie Digital, St. Mary's Hospital, and Canada Health Infoways who acted as mentors and judges.

This competition has encouraged both Jacqueline and Maria to learn more about e-medicine and the innovation of healthcare. The students are unsure about the future of their idea, but would like to continue to promote it in the future. Both students recommended that more Brock students should get involved next year, as it is an annual challenge.

For more information please visit the Challenge website at:

http://agfachallenge.ca/

 

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