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Feds announce millions for new project: York a major partner

Feds announce millions for new project: York a major partner

The federal government announced Wednesday at York that it would contribute up to $15.5 million dollars through its Technology Development Program to the Connected Health and Wellness Project, of which York University is a major partner.

The Connected Health and Wellness Project is a collaborative project led by a partnership of York University, NexJ Systems and McMaster University. All together the project includes 16 Ontario private sector, academic and not-for-profit research partners. In addition to the federal funding, the project has leveraged more than $23 million in private-sector investments.

From left, York President & Vice-Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri; Dr. David Price, chair of the Department of Family Medicine at the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine, McMaster University; Harvey Skinner, dean of York's Faculty of Health; Gary Goodyear, minister of state for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario; William M. Tatham, CEO of NexJ Systems Inc.; and Mark Adler, MP for York Centre. 

This project will involve cloud-based software will allow patients to access and share their health records with their family, friends and care teams, including a health coach, to collaboratively manage their health and wellness. The new profession of health coaches will be trained at York’s Faculty of Health. This technology will also allow hospitals, physicians and other healthcare professionals to access and update this information on an ongoing basis.

For example, patients with diabetes will be able to track their biometric measurements, such as meals and exercise, using smartphones and share this information easily with their medical teams.

Gary Goodyear, minister of state for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario, makes a funding annoucement at York

“York University is proud to partner with the government of Canada, industry, academic and healthcare providers to deliver a new people-centred, technology-enabled health and wellness model,” said York President & Vice-Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri at the funding announcement at York’s Life Sciences Building. “York's creation of a training program and professional standards for the new health coach profession is a first inCanadato combine multiple skill sets in health promotion, disease prevention and behaviour change that highlightYork's breadth and depth in health expertise.”

Announced by Gary Goodyear, minister of state for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) and Mark Adler, MP for York Centre, the project is a technology platform containing an integrated suite of compatible technologies and apps designed to improve the health of Canadians.

“Our Government is committed to helping personalize health care for Canadians,” said Goodyear. “Our investment will bring integrated health and wellness solutions to market that will provide Canadians with new solutions to better manage their own health using innovative technology developed in our region.”

Harvey Skinner, dean of York's Faculty of Health at the announcement

Goodyear went on to say that we are at the forefront of the next generation in health care management, which will not only reduce costs of delivering health care to our citizens, but it will improve the health care that they receive and ultimately that is what’s it’s all about. He also said that the government’s investment will help York University and its partners to undertake a collaborative project that may in fact revolutionize health-care delivery, not only in Canada, but ultimately around the world.

As the amount of people with chronic medical conditions grows, along with the need to manage these conditions, the need for this kind of project is clear.

"The combination of mobile technology, electronic health records and behaviour change supported by a health coach will help more people live healthier, longer, and receive timely access to effective health care when needed. This is the essence of people-centred health,” said Harvey Skinner, dean of York's Faculty of Health. "This partnership is an important step forward for transforming and sustaining health-care and wellness systems in Canada and globally.”

More than five billion people globally now have access to mobile technology and that presents a huge opportunity to reach out to people in poorer and remote communities, said Skinner.

The project will help create the conditions to make southern Ontario’s businesses and not-for-profit institutions global leaders in the development and delivery of integrated electronic health-care software. It is also positioning the region as a leader in advancing health coaching, which is intended to help Canada and other countries around the world find new ways to decrease health-care costs.

Mamdouh Shoukri talks with Gary Goodyear following the announcement at York

Other partners in the project include:

Academic: George Brown College, Seneca College and Centennial College

Industry: RIM; Rogers; Tyze Personal Networks; OSCAR Service Providers; PryLynx Corporation and Trivaris

Healthcare providers: Southlake Regional Health Centre; North York General Hospital; Centre for Global eHealth Innovation (University Health Network) and the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center of Harvard Medical School

Republished courtesy of YFile– York University’s daily e-bulletin.