Health in the digital age

A Heart & Stroke Young Leaders event explores the intersection of technology and health care
Doctor with technology

How can digital technology and innovation change healthcare systems for the greatest impact? The Heart & Stroke Young Leaders recently hosted a panel discussion that brought digital trendsetters and medical experts together to discuss health “technovation.” The topics ranged from new funding models and artificial intelligence (AI), to how data can be harnessed to create a more holistic, modern healthcare system.

Dr. Sacha Bhatia, the founding director of the Institute for Health System Solutions and Virtual Care at Women’s College Hospital, addressed how new technology and research have changed heart disease from an acute care problem to a chronic disease.

<p>L to R: Michael Millar as moderator with panelists Linda Kaleis, Adam Jagelewski, Lydia Lee, Sacha Bhatia</p>

L to R: Michael Millar as moderator with panelists Linda Kaleis, Adam Jagelewski, Lydia Lee, Sacha Bhatia

As patients live longer and need more support and resources, healthcare systems need to evolve to be more patient-centric, providing tools for people to self-manage their health and prevent disease before it happens. Heart & Stroke is helping to do that though groundbreaking research and innovative programs such as Activate (see below).

How do you foster innovation? Lydia Lee, who leads KPMG’s Digital Health practice, says systems need to be training future healthcare professionals how to use data to create a holistic personalized care journey for their patients. By giving future nurses and doctors the opportunity to think differently about using AI and machine learning, she said, we can lessen clinicians’ workload, help people reduce their risk of disease and ultimately decrease the number of people needing hospitals.

Digital tech is creating opportunities to support Canadians in ways that we couldn’t before.

Doug Roth Head of Social Enterprise, Heart & Stroke

Next, Adam Jagelewski, co-founder of the MaRS Centre for Impact Investing, provided insight into social impact bonds, the funding model that financed Activate, a Heart & Stroke program aimed at helping people control their blood pressure. Investor dollars enable Heart & Stroke to deliver the program; based on results, the investors are repaid by the government. This model allows Heart & Stroke’s investors, donors and program users to play a more active role in the development journey.

The final panelist of the night was Linda Kaleis, lead data scientist at Memotext. She talked about developing programs to make use of the immense amount of health data available. For example, a type 2 diabetes program developed with a private insurance company uses claims history data to help users stay healthy for longer, learn more about their condition and suggest ways to prevent further decline. Linda made it clear that AI and digital technology are here to augment the care experience, not take over.

The evening highlighted the exciting new developments that digital technology brings to the healthcare sector while also showing gaps that still need to be filled. The Young Leaders Committee will continue to bring young professionals together to shape the future of Heart & Stroke throughout the next year.

Want to raise awareness about heart disease and stroke and raise funds for breakthrough research? Get involved and learn about upcoming Young Leader events by following the committee’s Facebook page

Related information
  • Learn more about the inaugural Heart & Stroke Young Leaders committee.