uOttawa researchers receive $1.6M to build health care apps

Posted on Thursday, April 14, 2016

A team of researchers led by uOttawa engineering professor Natalie Baddour has put together a program to provide professional training and practical employment skills to engineering students so they can meet the needs of a growing market for mobile device-supported health care. The project has received $1.65M in funding from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council’s CREATE program.

The ever-present nature of mobile devices has transformed how we use information in personal and business activities. Given that health care is the latest field to leverage the use of smartphones and tablets, there is a pressing need for skills and knowledge to develop apps for health care providers.

The CREATE Biomedical Engineering Smartphone Training (BEST) program will prepare the next generation of engineers to design, develop and commercialize apps for the  mHealth market. The term mHealth refers to the use of mobile devices in support of clinical medicine and public health. For example, mobile device apps are now being used to collect community and clinical health data; deliver health care information to practitioners, researchers, and patients; monitor patients in real time; and allow practitioners to directly provide health care via mobile telemedicine.

These mHealth applications have shown widespread potential in fields ranging from digital epidemiology to patient gait monitoring. They can bridge the information and communications gap between home and clinic, thus granting patients more freedom, lowering healthcare costs, and allowing clinicians to monitor patients remotely.

The CREATE-BEST program is a collaboration between the University of Ottawa, Carleton University and McGill University.

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