Alberta awards $9.6 million to universities to invest in modern health solutions

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A new collaboration between Alberta Health Services (AHS) and Alberta Innovates will provide funding to university researchers to explore technologies improving patient outcomes.

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A total of eight research teams from both the University of Alberta and the University of Calgary have been awarded $9.6 million from Alberta’s Partnership for Research and Innovation in the Health System to accelerate innovation in healthcare.

“Healthcare needs to be efficient, effective and timely, and innovation supports those objectives. These projects illustrate the ingenuity of Alberta’s research and innovation teams. With their resourcefulness, we can develop a more progressive health system that offers improved care to Albertans,” said Jason Copping, Minister of Health. 

The province said the investment will help researchers deploy emerging health technologies to support the delivery of innovative care models empowering patients, families, and healthcare teams to improve the quality of care in various clinical areas.

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The goal is to identify issues early so they can be treated promptly, thereby keeping patients healthier, reducing the risk of more serious complications and minimizing hospital visits.

“Some of the most exciting advances in healthcare come from innovators who use technology to solve problems in new ways. I’m excited to see the medical research happening across Alberta. This investment will help to further that important research and to deliver better health care for all Albertans,” said Nate Glubish, Minister of Technology and Innovation. 

Dr. Prism Schneider, from the University of Calgary’s McCaig Institute for Bone and Joint Health, is one of the program’s eight successful applicants. She will be working to develop an electronic health solution capable of alerting, educating, surveying, triaging, and communicating with patients who suffer from osteoporosis or fragility fractures.

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Further, virtual and electronic solutions being explored by all eight projects will help ensure patient engagement, improve delivery and quality of care, and lead to further efficiencies in the healthcare system.

A total of 27 applications were received for this year’s Partnership for Research and Innovation in the Health System funding. Three are from the University of Calgary and five are from the University of Alberta.

Research teams will have up to two years to complete their projects. Technologies include but are not limited to virtual and augmented reality, improvements to telehealth, mobile-health applications, connected devices, sensors, wearables, 3D printing, computer simulation and modelling.

“The Partnership for Research and Innovation in the Health System is an incredibly valuable program for Alberta Innovates. We’re pleased to partner with Alberta Health Services and the Strategic Clinical Networks to add innovative new programs to our health system. We congratulate all eight applicants, and we look forward to the results that flow from this partnership,” said Laura Kilcrease, CEO, Alberta Innovates.

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