Technology and innovation are important means for creating solutions to problems faced by older adults and their caregivers in Canada. Our research focuses on the engagement of older adults, community members, and stakeholders who will use, or be affected by, innovative technologies in Canada.
Health Systems, Practice, Policy and Regulatory Issues (POLICY-TECH) is an AGE-WELL funded project which aims to understand the current policy and regulatory landscape in Canada related to health technologies for seniors’ health. Researchers are working to develop recommendations for how policy frameworks and collaborative partnerships might evolve to support development and appropriate adoption of health technology innovations, and understanding how technological innovations can be used to inform health system-decision-making.
For more information on AGE-WELL, see the AGE-WELL page.
POLICY-TECH has five projects within their workpackage (WP):
This project is examining current policy and regulatory frameworks and developments that are relevant to the licensing, approval, regulation, reimbursement and evaluation of new technologies and innovations resulting from AGE-WELL. This project will produce recommendations for how innovation in health technologies for older adults can be accommodated and stimulated within existing policy and regulatory frameworks, as well as how these frameworks might be modified to support safe adoption of promising and effective technologies.
The PRI-TECH team has developed this Primer (PDF) that summarizes information about the innovation process, from research and development to procurement.
Translating AGE-WELL research into practice, policy and commercial applications will require strong partnerships and linkages among researchers, policy-makers, practitioners, and industry. This can be most effectively done at the local or regional level, where the participants can meet and collaborate face-to-face. This project is exploring how technology innovations can be fostered and driven in what we are calling Regional Health Innovation Ecosystems (RHIEs). The research team will develop models for AGE-WELL that will facilitate partnerships in local collaborations among researchers, policy makers, practitioners and industry.
In the following video, Heather McNeil from DRIVE discusses the project in more detail and explains an event that was hosted by DRIVE in November, 2016. A full transcript is available here (pdf).
The provision of health care is moving increasingly from hospitals to the community and home. It is not only cheaper, but provides a more attractive quality of life for older adults. The objective of this project is to develop and prove the feasibility of home health monitoring and data-driven decision making systems. Recent advances in mobile devices, sensor technology, cloud computing, telecommunications, and Big Data analytics can empower older adults and their caregivers to continuously monitor their health. This project will target falls as a pilot application but will also pursue other suitable applications.
- Leads: Lili Liu
Three out of five Canadians with dementia wander. Between 2010 and 2014, there was an increase in the number of adults who "wandered off," according to Statistics Canada. An Alberta study has shown that locator devices, which enable caregivers to monitor individuals with dementia, bring peace of mind for the caregiver. However, consumers do not have access to comparative information that can help them choose a locator product that meets their needs. The purpose of this completed project was to develop an online consumer guideline describing features of commercially-available locator technologies.
- Leads: Lili Liu
Many U.S. states fund Silver Alert programs that broadcast information about vulnerable older adults who wander and get lost, however there is little empirical evidence to support the success rates of these programs. In Canada, Vancouver has a citizen-funded Silver Alert program, and Manitoba is introducing a private members bill for a provincially-funded Silver Alert program. The literature supports community engagement in the search and rescue of lost older adults, however, publically-funded silver alert programs are associated with jurisdictional issues and alert fatigue. A Silver Alert program that engages communities even when a lost person crosses provincial boundaries, and prevents alert fatigue is needed. Such a program would also respect users' rights to self-determination and privacy.
For more information visit the AGE-WELL page.