On May 11th and 12th, a few of our team members attended the 2nd annual AppsForHealth conference, Ontario’s premier recruiting and networking event for the mHealth and eHealth industry. The first day of the conference consisted of talks, discussion panels, technology showcases, and a networking event for both professionals and students in the field. The second day was a student mHealth app design competition, where teams developed a solution for a sponsor challenge. Two of our very own research students not only attended the conference, but also competed in the challenge, and were placed first among 13 teams! Shivani Goyal (PhD Candidate in Clinical Engineering) and Joanne Wong (Master of Health Informatics student) write about their experiences at the conference.
The first day of the AppsForHealth conference provided learning opportunities and discussions for those interested in the mHealth and eHealth field. Our esteemed scientists Dr. Kevin Leonard and Dr. Joseph Cafazzo were the two keynote speakers, focusing on how technology can help improve patient-centered care. Discussion panel topics included technology tools for health promotion and chronic disease management; technology and improved healthcare delivery in the community; trends for the future of healthcare with mobile devices and more! Mark Casselman presented the bant app and received great feedback in the “emerging new technology in healthcare” panel. Cassie McDaniel provided a fantastic presentation on how design plays an integral part in healthcare in the “UI design session.” There was definitely a diverse community of people at the conference, including healthcare professionals, technology professionals, policy makers, entrepreneurs, designers, and many bright-minded students.
The Challenge & Our Solution
SickKids hospital sponsored the “Mobile Assistance Solution for Youth with Lupus” challenge for the student competition. The mandate was to create a mobile app concept for individuals from 14 to 30 years of age that would address the issues of isolation, education and overall poor self-management of lupus. It is also known that the transition of adolescents from pediatric care to adult care is suboptimal and can result in inefficient treatment and poor health outcomes. This last point was the main focus on our application – LOOP. We wanted to create a platform that would help adolescents fortify their self-management skills and bring awareness to the different elements of their condition. We achieved this by leveraging social media, and using gamification concepts in conjunction to the SickKids transition model. Other features of our application were: medication reminders, symptom tracking, feedback algorithm, and appointment notepad.
Shivani Goyal writes:
“The AppsForHealth 2012 conference had an impressive mixture of industry and students who were together to share thoughts on patient-centered care and mHealth. The panel discussions from both the healthcare and technology stream were extremely engaging. It was a unique opportunity to hear different points of view, and have people instigate stimulating discussions. Let us not forget the panel of passionate designers who made it clear that healthcare can no longer overlook the end-user’s experience. Truth be told, I did not want any of these conversations to stop. There is something special about unrehearsed genuine discussion!
Participating in the student competition was a beautiful experience. Not only did I get to problem solve with Joanne, who has extra interest in design, but I also gained exposure to the complexities of adolescents dealing with systemic lupus erythematosus. The day of the presentation, I was able to network with physicians, entrepreneurs, business developers, and like-minded students in an intimate setting. I was amazed by the diversity of approaches used to generate mHealth solutions for issues like birth complications, prostate cancer awareness, and dermatology referrals. This conference resurfaced the fact that mHealth has great potential to improve health outcomes, and in order to be successful, we must have a multifaceted team focusing on the patient’s experience.”
Joanne Wong writes:
“Looking back a few years ago, I had never heard of the term ‘mobile health (mHealth)’, and would have never thought that cellular phones would have the capability to improve health outcomes. I became really interested in mHealth over the last year or so, and was really happy to hear that there was a conference on apps for health. We got to meet many people from different areas in the field. The panels and discussions were amazing as well, as I learned about various new technologies in healthcare, and how UI/UX design is important in healthcare.
The challenge portion of the AppsForHealth was the most interesting part for me. Shivani and I had worked really hard in a span of one week to create a solution for the SickKids challenge. We had to delve into our knowledge on self-management, transition to adult care, and app design. We also had to learn about lupus in a short time, The challenge not only allowed for us to showcase our work, but we got to meet many innovative students from across Ontario. The organizers had put together a great conference considering that it was only in their second year. I can’t wait to see what they will bring for AppsForHealth 2013!”
For more information on the 2012 AppsforHealth Conference and award recipients, please visit the AppsforHealth website.