2.jpg

CHALLENGES

Tracks

Healthcare Devices

Medical Hardware Innovation

Projects within this category aim to build a device or technology that can directly improve the quality of life for seniors. Projects within this category may focus on designing prosthetics for seniors with amputations, developing wearable devices to track Parkinson's disease, or creating a technology to monitor the health and alert status of seniors while they are driving. The objective is to provide the user with a direct benefit from the use of the device.

Healthcare Systems

Medical Facility Improvement

Projects within this category aim to both identify gaps in Canada’s healthcare system and to improve current clinical workflows. Projects may focus on building tools that would allow for early diagnosis, streamlining medical data retrieval, or improving current medical practices (e.g. hand washing). The objective of each project is to find a way to enhance our current healthcare efficiency.

Healthcare Platforms

Medical Service Aggregation

Projects within this category aim to create accessible platforms that provide a compilation of services or resources for seniors and caregivers. Projects may focus on creating platforms for education (i.e., training modules for topics such as dementia care), disseminating healthcare information (e.g., diagnostic information gathered from health monitoring devices or active prescriptions), networking (e.g., ad forums for nutritionists, companionships, or nurses), or scheduling appointments with medical professionals based on which service they are seeking. The objective of each project is to facilitate a user-friendly platform to better inform and involve seniors with their healthcare.

 

01

Using interaction design to promote hand hygiene in long term care facilities

Courtney MacDonald & Ross Sweetzir

Healthcare Systems - Medical Facility Improvement

Ross Sweetzir, Dylan Fraser, Kathryn Simone, Annie Nguyen

Innovators who accept this challenge will join a collaboration between W21C and Cisco Canada on an initiative to encourage good hand hygiene practices in long term care facilities using technology and design. Interactive video display screens will be linked to a network of alcohol-based sanitizer dispensers throughout the facility so that a visual graphic is triggered every time a dispenser is used. The screen will also display how many times a dispenser has been used so far that day, as well as how the usage of dispensers in one location compares to the usage of dispensers in other locations. The code and hardware components will be designed to be low cost and open source so that this solution can be duplicated by any interested long-term care or health care facility in the future.

02

A miniaturized touch screen with highly sensitive pressure sensing

Dr. Taylor Chomiak & Dr. Tamas Fuzesi

Healthcare Devices - Medical Hardware Innovation

Aleksander Berezowski, Jian Liao, Muskaan Puri, Catherine Ko, Chandhini Ramu, Warren Leung Kam Tsang

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is one of the most prevalent neurological disorders afflicting the elderly, with immense societal and economic impacts. For instance, over the past generation, the global burden of PD has more than doubled, with the number of people diagnosed with PD reaching over 6 million [1]. Moreover, in countries with aging populations where there is a high frequency of neurological disorders, demand exceeds the number of neurologists (particularly in rural areas) [2]. This serves to increase wait times and hinder treatment. Thus, current approaches for the clinical management of PD emphasize the need for the development low-cost and scalable tools that could reduce wait times and support more accessible telehealth solutions for the clinical management of PD.
A simple strategy to address this need is with the use of digital tools. Digital tools represent a category of objective and quantifiable biobehavioral data that are collected via portable or wearable devices. When combined with computer-aided and machine-learning (ML)-enabled decision-support systems, these digital tools can be used for diagnostic support and/or track the progress of interventions administered by clinicians.
The goal of this challenge is to develop a miniaturized touch screen that can be placed on a wearable device with highly sensitive pressure sensing capabilities. The pressure readout combined with the x-y coordinates of the touchscreen can then be used for the objective assessment of simple digitized finger tapping tests with the potential to identify subtle changes in motor deficits and the longitudinal monitoring of motor complications that may not be captured with routine clinical rating scales.
[1] Dorsey, E.R. et al. Global, regional, and national burden of Parkinson’s disease, 1990–2016: A systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2016. Lancet Neurol. 2018, 17, 939–953.
[2] Burton, A. How do we fix the shortage of neurologists? Lancet Neurol. 2018, 17, 502–503.

03

Driver health monitoring and assistance to contact medical responders in emergencies

Chantelle Anderson

Healthcare Devices - Medical Hardware Innovation

Ruina Bao, Khoa Ngyuen, Gurmol Singh, Mirza Beg, Harveen Saini, Vidhy Patel

Human mobility is an indisputable feature of modernity. People spend a great deal of their time in cars daily. Unfortunately, each year approximately 1–1.24 million people are killed and 20–50 million people are injured on the roads around the world, according to reports of the World Health Organization. Based on past studies, “drivers with diabetes, epilepsy, cardiovascular disease, alcoholism and mental illness averaged twice as many crashes per 1,000,000 miles of driving”. Therefore, facilitating private cars with state-of-the-art health monitoring systems is promising.
The most common chronic conditions of adults 65+ are hypertension (58%), high cholesterol (47%), arthritis (31%), ischemic/coronary heart disease (29%), diabetes (27%), chronic kidney disease (18%), heart failure (14%), depression (14%), Alzheimer's disease and dementia (11%), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (11%). The National Council on Aging states "eighty percent of adults 65 and older have at least one condition."
More than 3000 deaths occur each day worldwide due to the trauma that is caused by motor vehicle collisions. These collisions involve drivers that have visited a physician within the year. This is the most common cause of death, 7 of which occur in Canada and impacts the collective cost along with emergency services greatly, more than $100 million per day. Approximately 50% of related deaths occur within minutes of impact demonstrating the need for effective preventative strategies and measures within the car.
In the event the person is able to contact 911 (before or after an accident) using their mobile phone, the 911 dispatcher is unable to utilize land-based technologies to pull up their location on their computer terminal. Given this, it falls upon the caller to provide their location to the dispatcher. If the person is unable to communicate, the dispatcher is unable to route emergency responders to their location causing further delays in medical care response.
Therefore, our goal is to create a solution for an integrative platform to be used in automobiles to monitor health and alert status in drivers and respond appropriately to assist the driver in an emergency, specifically in adults over 65 years of age.

04

"Care My Way"

Alice Lam & Stephanie Chipeur

Healthcare Platforms - Medical Service Aggregation

Adriana Martinez, Annie Nguyen, Cecilia Xu, Hannah Zhao, Forest Park

Our project is an app that will reduce barriers for seniors with dementia-related conditions to live at home and enrol in Alberta Health Services’ Self-Managed Care Program. We approach healthy aging as a disability-inclusive concept. This means that aging itself is often disabling for those who live long enough. Further, healthy aging is not only for the able-bodied or able-minded. Rather, we believe people with disabilities, both acquired and congenital, ought to be able to enjoy healthy aging. Institutionalizing people with dementia-related conditions is often treated as inevitable. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has raised awareness about the isolation and potential abuses that occur in these settings. Our app will help support individuals with dementia-related conditions to live in their homes and hire caregivers to make their lives at home as safe and free of stressors as possible.
Alberta's Self-Managed Care Program allows individuals and their families to select their own caregivers and pay for care with funds that they receive from the Alberta government. Among the many benefits of the program, the ones that would be of particular interest to individuals with dementia-related conditions include familiarity with the same caregiver(s) from day-to-day, flexibility as to the timing of shifts and the activities carried out during the shift, and ability to choose caregivers that are compatible with the individual and their families (language, personality, etc).
The app has three main functions: (1) Education - we would partner with the Alzheimer’s Society and Creative Aging Calgary to provide training modules for prospective caregivers that would essentially be “Caregiving for Dementia-Related Conditions 101”. The training would also include topics to support caregiver health, such as grieving and avoiding burn out. (2) Networking - the app would offer a discussion group section to facilitate peer support. It would also have a job posting section to help connect caregivers who have completed training to advertise services and for families to post ads seeking caregivers. (3) Technical support - this part of the app would support users with the paperwork that is necessary to enrol in the Self Managed Care Program. This includes assistance with time sheets, payroll, T4 preparation and employment contracts.
We also want our app to be accessible to a broad range of potential users. We would like to translate into 6 major languages (traditional Chinese, Russian, Arabic, Gujurati, Vietnamese and Tagalog) through partnership with the Calgary Immigrant Women’s Association’s language bank. We require funding and support not only to develop the app itself but also to provide honorariums to families that participate in focus groups, which will allow us to learn more about what they need from our app.

05

Smart digital surveillance for seniors and aging population living with disabilities

Dr. Selim Khan

Healthcare Systems - Medical Facility Improvement

Ali Siddiqui. Ashke Rashid, Reeshad Masroor, Munib Ali

Healthcare management has been facing challenges to intervene timely to address the health issues faced by seniors and aging population living with some sort of disabilities either at senior homes or private houses. The recent catastrophes faced by Canada during the Covid-19 pandemic is a burning example. This happened due to the lack of timely information about the health conditions the victims were going through. An AI powered Smart Digital Surveillance could be the best solution to this challenge. Wearing a simple smart device by seniors can serve the purpose. The device will record and send forward a range of data related to the conditions of these physically disabled people.
Based on my past work with a German Rehabilitation organization (Johanniter) and Dementia Society of Ottawa, and recent published and current works on AI deep learning algorithms development initiatives with the Cumming School and School of Architectures’ collaborative project, I plan to join forces with colleagues from the Computer Science and Kinesiology Depts., and partnering with colleagues from the Clinical, Radiology and Rehabilitation departments to successfully deliver this project.
This project aims to exploit the most useful Deep Learning AI algorithms, analyze speech, image, video, object recognition algorithms for remote diagnosis and provide time series forecasting. A model developed on such data, can perform automated analyses and raise cascading alerts for actions to be taken proactively. These actions will prevent victims from getting more serious illness or avoidable accidents, and will cut down costs on the expensive time-consuming administrative and laboratory procedures. Thereby, can enhance health systems’ efficiency by reducing the costs of treatment and rehabilitation programs. Such a model can also track the progress of patients on physical therapy who are recovering from a physical injury by analyzing and comparing these to age, body type, muscle strength, posture, gait and various body poses over time, level and type of physical exertion etc. It can also identify and quantify defects or lesion; thus, determine prognosis. Such assessment and tracking of improvement of gait (analyzing video stream while walking) is crucial to forecast when a patient can return to normalcy. This can also help improving assisted living technologies used by seniors and adding quality of life to the people suffering from chronic disabilities and other debilitating diseases at their advanced age.

06

Developing an app to track available programs and services for seniors

Dr. Marc Poulin, Dr. Lewis Poulin, & Connor Snow

Healthcare Platforms - Medical Service Aggregation

Bethany Chan, Diego Simpson-Ochoa

While it has become easy using apps to track the best deals on hotels, flights, vacation packages, car rentals, etc., families who suddenly need Long Term Care (LTC) seem to be left on their own to each navigate through the myriad of web sites to try and find information. Could you develop an app that could use the approach of other apps that find best deals to instead find and list available programs and services available to seniors? This app would help families connect with government services, care providers, businesses much more easily. It could also help families who are approaching the years when they will need LTC to more easily start scanning and planning for what may be available.

07

Utilizing AI in long-term care homes to avert transfers to the Emergency Department

Poonam Sehgal & Sats Sehgal

Healthcare Systems - Medical Facility Improvement

Pujarati Roy, Amna Adnan, Paresh Mungara, Kennedy Romick, Michael Wang

Working in long-term care homes as a consulting Nurse Practitioner has helped to highlight the complexities that come with sending our frail seniors to the ED. With studies estimating that by 2036, adults 65 and older will make up between 23-25% of Canada’s population (CIHI, 2014), we need to be mindful of how this will impact our healthcare system. The contribution I want to make to our health care system and society is to study and identify the top indicators for a valid transfer, building the right tools and capabilities to assist our staff in making decisions around early detection in a patients condition, recognizing of early deterioration and other early warning signals.

08

Visually appealing automated display of medical record data

Amira Aissiou, Shane Eaton, & Nathan Le