Seemless Care through Technology: A Focus on Brain Vitality

Carolyn Sparrey

Abstract

One in three Canadians is affected by brain-related illness during their lives (www.braincanada.ca), yet our ability to actually promote our brain’s vital function remains critically underdeveloped. The proposed Brain Vitality initiative – with the singular focus to promote our brains’ vital abilities across a person’s lifespan – will translate SFU’s strengths in neuroscience and engineering into real-world health technology products and benefits for Canadians. The goal of this initiative is to advance technology solutions for brain vitality from fundamental science through to commercialization. Coupling SFU’s forward thinking intellectual property policies with the drive to engage with students, researchers, and our community makes SFU uniquely positioned to take innovative ideas from the laboratory through to market. To accomplish this, we have undertaken a large-scale partnership within Surrey’s Innovation Boulevard (IB) (www.surrey.ca/ innovationboulevard) – a network of health institutions, universities, companies, and people, located in Surrey’s City Centre between SFU and Surrey Memorial Hospital (SMH). This partnership has allowed us to develop IB’s Technology Testbed (TTb), which is a network of interconnected multi-partner and multi-user clinically embedded ‘tech’ labs co-located with SMH. Although many SFU researchers are engaged in clinically relevant research, a physical connection to the clinic and access to patients has been a barrier to research for many investigators. However, the structure of the TTb will facilitate clinical access for SFU investigators and enable the proposed CTEF project. In addition, embedded labs paired with private medical (Health Tech Connex) and care industries (Retirement Concepts Inc.) provides critical insight into product development, market need, and business models of successful health technology products. Unifying individual investigator efforts into this team structure will result in more effective and complete use of patient data and provide opportunities to assess the compatibility of different technologies in diagnosing and treating the same patients throughout their continuum of care.