Harper Government Takes Action to Improve Health Care Solutions for Canadians and Their Families

For immediate release
September 12, 2012

Toronto, Ontario — An investment by the Harper Government in innovative software will help Canadians, their families and their medical teams gain quick access to all their health records using cloud-based tools. The Connected Health and Wellness Project, announced today by the Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) and Mark Adler, Member of Parliament for York Centre, is a collaborative project led by a partnership of York University, NexJ Systems and McMaster University.

"Our Government is committed to helping personalize health care for Canadians," said Minister 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."

The Connected Health and Wellness Project is a technology platform containing an integrated suite of compatible technologies and apps designed to improve the health of Canadians. This project 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. 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.

"Our Government is proud to support industry-research partnerships in southern Ontario that will strengthen the Canadian health system," said MP Adler. "This project will benefit Canadians by improving patient treatment through personalized health services and more efficient use of medical resources."

FedDev Ontario's contribution of up to $15,549,290 through the Technology Development Program will enable the Connected Health and Wellness Project to bring together 16 private sector, academic and not-for-profit partners. In addition to federal funding, this project has leveraged more than $23 million in private-sector investments.

This investment is creating the conditions to make southern Ontario's businesses and not-for-profit institutions global leaders in the development and delivery of integrated electronic healthcare 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 healthcare costs.

"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," says Mamdouh Shoukri, president and vice-chancellor of York University. "York's creation of a training program and professional standards for the new health coach profession is a first in Canada to combine multiple skill sets in health promotion, disease prevention and behaviour change that highlight York's breadth and depth in health expertise."

For more information on this project or the Technology Development Program, please refer to the backgrounder.

Created in 2009, FedDev Ontario supports the southern Ontario economy by building on the region's strengths and creating opportunities for jobs and economic growth. The Agency has launched a number of initiatives to create a Southern Ontario Advantage and place the region in a strong position to compete in the global economy. These initiatives are designed to encourage partnerships and support projects that help the region's businesses and communities become more competitive, innovative and diversified. To learn more, please visit www.FedDevOntario.gc.ca or call 1-866-593-5505.

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For more information, contact:

Michele-Jamali Paquette
Director of Communications
Office of the Honourable Gary Goodyear
613-947-2956

Media Relations
FedDev Ontario
416-954-6652


Backgrounder

Contribution to the Connected Health and Wellness Project

FedDev Ontario is providing a non-repayable contribution of up to $15,549,290 to the Connected Health and Wellness Project through its Technology Development Program.

This project will focus on building a network through which health and wellness tools and services will be delivered using a cloud-based software platform. The final product, an integrated suite of electronic healthcare software, will offer users an all-in-one health and wellness management solution that will provide patients with a consolidated view of their electronic medical records and personal health records from various healthcare providers.

This project has two main goals: to create the software applications to support integrated online health tools and to build an educational platform for healthcare professionals that will form the foundation for new standards in health coaching. This is an emerging profession that integrates the use of online tools with the practice of health promotion, behaviour change, disease prevention, and chronic disease management.

This investment will accelerate the development and commercialization of technologies being developed under the Connected Health and Wellness Project, which are currently anticipated to reach market in about two years. The project is expected to benefit Canada's healthcare system by improving patient outcomes through personalized health services and more efficient use of medical resources. It is also expected to lead to economic growth in the healthcare and information and communication technology sectors in southern Ontario and across the globe.

The Connected Health and Wellness Project is being led by the following three main partners:

  • York University, a leader in sustained health behaviour change, is leading a new training program and professional standard for the emerging health coach profession.
  • NexJ Systems, with expertise in enterprise software and people-centered health solutions, is providing its NexJ Connected Wellness Platform cloud-based software to the project.
  • McMaster University, renowned for research intensity innovation, has developed and is the lead organization for OSCAR, an electronic health record, and MyOSCAR, a personal health record managed by the patient. These technologies will be further developed through the project and will be core components of the new people-centred, technology-enabled health and wellness system.

The following is the complete list of partners in this project:

Private sector partners
Post-secondary institute partners
Not-for-profit research partners
  • NexJ Systems Inc.
  • OSCARService Inc.
  • PryLynx Corporation
  • Rogers Health Care
  • Research In Motion
  • Trivaris
  • Tyze Personal Networks
  • Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (an affiliate of Harvard Medical School)
  • York University
  • McMaster University
  • Centennial College
  • George Brown College
  • Seneca College
  • Centre for Global eHealth Innovation (University Health Network)
  • North York General Hospital
  • Southlake Regional Health Centre

For more details on the project and its partners, please visit: www.chwp.org.

Technology Development Program

The Technology Development Program is designed to strengthen southern Ontario's economy by providing financial support to accelerate bringing innovative and transformative technologies to the global market.

Through the program, FedDev Ontario is investing in projects that will significantly contribute to the development of globally-competitive, market-ready technologies with the potential to develop new business opportunities or benefits for an industry, sector or region in southern Ontario.

The Technology Development Program encourages the private and public sectors to collaborate on innovative, breakthrough technologies that are one to seven years from market.

Applications for funding are being accepted and assessed on an ongoing basis. For more information and to apply, please refer to the Program Guidelines available on the FedDev Ontario website at www.FedDevOntario.gc.ca.