2018 Health Hack Competition Challenges

Mobile Apps

Development of a Post-Operative Pain Control Smartphone Application

With their substantial computing power, responsive touch screens, personalization options, and their capacity to store large amounts of information, smartphones are becoming an increasingly popular tool for health management. Recently developed mobile applications (apps) for the perioperative setting have demonstrated a beneficial impact on both the end user and the healthcare system. To date, app technology has not been extended to pediatric tonsillectomy patients, or pediatric ambulatory surgery.


Diagnosing Emergency Department Access Block Using Real Time Monitoring Technology and Dashboard Science

Emergency Department (ED) access block, often referred to as emergency overcrowding has been recognized as an international threat to patient and public well-being for well over 25 years with little sign of sustained improvement in Alberta or beyond. The harms associated with ED access block are myriad and include EMS offload delays which places the population at risk. The problem that exists in current ED operations in Canada and beyond is that managers lack the ability to “diagnose” the extent to which these various factors contribute to access block in real time. We need a dashboard that can assist with ambulance dispatch based and destination based on a selected number of metrics (REPAC) but these are insufficient to guide operational adjustments inside the ED. Alberta Health Services has access to a rich suite of real-time clinical and operational metrics that could inform ED managers of what factors are predominant at a given point in time and where to focus resources. These data sources are disparate and lack the integration and interpretative elements that can make them most helpful to managers.


Medication follow-up platform

RP … It is a well known fact that medication adverse effects are a huge burden on our healthcare system. I believe that the majority of these problems can be averted by identifying concerns early. Pharmacists are a great resource to help identify and manage medication-related problems. I have established the practice of doing follow-up phone calls with patients at my pharmacy whenever they start a new medication. I have seen the benefit that this has had with my patients and have been able to identify therapy problems and help resolve them. Unfortunately, this is not standard practice because of the limited time pharmacists have to engage in such activities.


Smart-watch app for Intensive Care Monitoring

RP … Doctors and nurses from different wards (in particular the intensive care units) can use a smart-watch connected to a system that monitors the vital parameters of patients in the unit or ward. If a patient's readings reach a dangerous level, a notification alert is sent directly to the doctor and/or nurse to the smart-watch on their wrist and these readings are monitored in real time and stored on a hospital’s central server or in their IT system. The patient particulars (name, readings, etc.) appear on the watch, so the doctor can react quickly and precisely. The IT infrastructure to allow hardware devices to access patient records already exists in some hospitals (and hospital wards) around the world, and will be arriving in Alberta over the next few years. Effectively, the solution transforms aspects of medical care and monitoring to be proactive, where doctors and nurses can see and know information before adverse events happen, unlike how it is currently, where nurses must monitor patients during their rounds and page doctors if events occur. In some hospitals, a patient will not be monitored for several hours, and several unfortunate emergencies can happen in that time frame, making doctors and nurses extremely reactionary to events that can be prevented beforehand.


Family Health App: Supporting Wellness by Monitoring Mobile Device Health Data

RP … Public health nurses regularly meet with parents and children to promote health and prevent illness from the time children are two-months-old to five years of age. However, after this point, families typically work see their family physician when they have health issues. However, a 2018 Fraser Institute report found that only 43% of Canadians aged 12 and older can get the same day or next-day appointments with a doctor when they need medical attention. Public health nurses remain in the community and work regularly out of every school until grade 12, and could better support the health of families if they could link to their health information using a data sharing app for mobile smart devices. The technological solution would allow families to share (i.e. grant access to) their health data with their health professional that is already collected by their mobile smart devices.

A benefit of collecting this data is that we would have a way to monitor health issues like weight, a risk factor associated with most chronic illnesses, and a public health priority given the growing issue of obesity. For example, currently, in well-child clinics/schools, public health nurses collect weights and heights on children until they are four years old. Following this, their family doctor, if they have one, collects this vital health information; however, family doctor records are not linked into the public health data systems, making it challenging for health professionals to intervene early to promote health and prevent disease. The Family Health App would allow parents to provide relevant health data to support the monitoring of their personal/families' health and the possibility of the early diagnosis/prevention of illness. Further, we envision that this tech solution could have built-in algorithms to alert public health nurses of families who need follow-up/referrals/educational resources.

Finally, the Family Health App would further benefit parents/families if there was a to discuss their health-related concerns with their healthcare professionals, perhaps through an instant messaging tool, replacing phone-based (i.e. health link) systems currently in place. This technological solution would help empower families to better monitor and manage their own health, preventing disease, and contributing to the sustainability of our publicly funded healthcare system.