Health Systems, Practice, Policy and Regulatory Issues

While technological innovation offers tremendous new opportunities, there are challenges related to policy, regulation and decision-making in the care of older persons. It is also important to understand how different sectors and stakeholders can work together to develop innovative solutions. The research conducted in POLICY-TECH centres around understanding the current policy and regulatory landscape in Canada related to health technologies for seniors’ health, developing 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, such as those that yield 'big data', can be used to inform health system decision-making. POLICY-TECH will deliver in-depth information that will be crucial for AGE-WELL partners as they attempt to bring new technologies and tools to the market. The research will also drive new healthcare policies.

Workpackage Leads
  • Paul Stolee, University of Waterloo
  • Don Juzwishin, Alberta Health Services


Core Research Projects

Policy and Regulatory Issues in Enabling Technological Innovation – 7.1 PRI-TECH

This project examines 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. The development of new technologies demands an evaluation of the questions they raise. For example, should “smart systems” used for remote health monitoring be regulated in the same fashion as medical devices? Should payment for these systems be the responsibility of health authorities, insurance companies, or consumers? Recommendations will be made 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.

Project Leads
  • Don Juzwishin, Alberta Health Services
  • Paul Stolee, University of Waterloo
Researchers
  • Don Husereau, University of Alberta
  • Pascale Lehoux, University of Montreal
  • Sheila Bodemer, University of Waterloo

 

Developing Regional Health InnoVation Ecosystems – 7.2 DRIVE

Translating AGE-WELL research into practice, policy and commercial applications requires strong partnerships and linkages among researchers, policymakers, 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 explores 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, policymakers, practitioners and industry.

 

Project Leads
  • Josephine McMurray, Wilfrid Laurier University
  • Heidi Sveistrup, University of Ottawa
Researchers
  • David Wolfe, University of Toronto
  • Don Juzwishin, Alberta Health Services
  • James Conklin, Concordia University
  • Pascale Lehoux, University of Montreal
  • Paul Stolee, University of Waterloo
  • Ryan D'Arcy, Simon Fraser University
  • Sheila Bodemer, University of Waterloo

 

Data-Driven Decision-making in Healthcare – 7.3 3DHC

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. Fall risk estimation will be targeted as a pilot application, but other suitable applications will also be pursued. Usability and acceptability of wearable devices among older Canadians will be investigated as well.

Project Leads
  • John Hirdes, University of Waterloo
  • Joon Lee, University of Waterloo
Researchers
  • George Heckman, University of Waterloo
  • James Tung, University of Waterloo
  • Jesse Hoey, University of Waterloo
  • Jim Wallace, University of Waterloo
  • Mu Zhu, University of Waterloo
  • Paul Stolee, University of Waterloo
  • Sheila Bodemer, University of Waterloo

 

Consumer Guideline for Locator Technologies – 7.4-S2

It is commonly cited that 3 out of 5 persons with dementia will wander yet the context of this statistic is unclear. It is unknown if the statistic refers to first time or repeated wandering incidents, and if it is associated with a person getting lost. Caregivers' experiences of a missing loved one can be devastating. Most U.S. states fund Silver Alert programs that broadcast information about vulnerable older adults who wander and get lost. Despite substantial public funding, these programs have challenges and there is little empirical evidence to support the success rates of the Silver Alert 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.

Project Leads
  • Lili Liu, University of Alberta
Researchers
  • Alex Mihailidis, Toronto Rehab Institute, University Health Network
  • Cathy Conway, Alzheimer Society of Ontario

 

Community Area Silver Alert Program – 7.5-SIP A1 C-ASAP

It is commonly cited that 3 out of 5 persons with dementia will wander yet the context of this statistic is unclear. It is unknown if the statistic refers to first time or repeated wandering incidents, and if it is associated with a person getting lost. Caregivers' experiences of a missing loved one can be devastating. Most U.S. states fund Silver Alert programs that broadcast information about vulnerable older adults who wander and get lost. Despite substantial public funding, these programs have challenges and there is little empirical evidence to support the success rates of the Silver Alert 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.

Project Leads
  • Lili Liu, University of Alberta
Researchers
  • Bob Alosio, Independent (industry representative)
  • Eleni Stroulia, University of Alberta
  • Ron Beleno, Independent

 

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