Inaugural Research Day Focuses on Smart Health

Dr. Dror Ben-Zeev is a Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Washington and licensed Clinical Psychologist who specializes in development and evaluation of mobile technology-based approaches in the study, assessment, treatment, and prevention of mental illness. Dr. Ben-Zeev was the keynote presenter at this year's inaugural Research Day on September 6th, 2018.

Technology is becoming more and more a driver of health care, and can positively impact patients in vast regions like Northwestern Ontario.

This provided the inspiration for today’s inaugural ‘Research Day’ and its theme, ‘A Focus on Smart Health’.

This full day event is jointly hosted by the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre (the Hospital) and the Thunder Bay Regional Health Research Institute. It’s designed to share information, build skills, raise interest in health research, and showcase local scientists and their work.

Highlights of this event include a special keynote presentation from Dror Ben-Zeev, PhD (‘Mobile e-Mental Health Research’), a panel discussion (‘Remote Access Health Technology Research & Development’), presentations by scientists, poster displays, workshops and guided tours of the Hospital’s research areas including the 3T-MRI, Wet Lab, and Cyclotron (via a virtual tour).

Research Day provides a worthwhile networking opportunity and is open to all staff at the Hospital and Health Research Institute as well as physicians, health practitioners, students and interested members of the public. It also aims to bring attention to the growing focus on using technology to improve patient care.

“Technology can assist in overcoming several of Northwestern Ontario’s geographical and cultural barriers to care,” said Jean Bartkowiak, President and CEO of the Hospital and CEO of the Health Research Institute. “It can help us streamline and improve access to care so that we are able to provide the right care to the right person at the right time, no matter where they live in the region.”

The Hospital serves a region that faces many health challenges, including distance to health care services and poorer health outcomes.

“Mobile technology for remote access to health services can help improve health outcomes considerably”, said Dr. Abraham (Rami) Rudnick, Executive VP Research & Development, of the Hospital and Chief Scientist at the Health Research Institute. “We want to do more, and do it in a more timely fashion, with early detection and early intervention.”

That’s where “smart health” comes in. Smart health is an umbrella term for connected and interconnected health solutions for diagnosing, monitoring, treating, and advising patients as well as supporting them in self care. It uses technologies such as smart phone apps, internet, and video technology in innovative ways to overcome those barriers and improve patient care.

“The Health Research Institute is currently exploring how smart health technology can bring smart health solutions to the region and help to achieve the objectives of the Hospital’s Strategic Plan 2020, while we progress with the three Directions of our Health Research Institute’s Strategic Plan of Healthier, Wealthier and Smarter”, adds Rudnick.