An iPad app that gives diabetes patients a centralized view of their treatment and a way to track daily progress indicators and assess next steps, is among the top five winning innovative ideas in health care IT from Canada Health Infoway’s ImagineNation Ideas challenge.


The brain behind the app, Jonathan Lapointe, a Montreal-based junior IT engineer with Groupe GSoft Inc., took home $5,000 for what he calls a “quite simple” idea where clinic data is aggregated with the patient’s own daily measurements “to try to present that in a way that’s really easy for the patient and the doctor to understand to have an easier interaction between them and to provide a followup.”

Lapointe said that, currently, the situation for diabetes patients is such that clinic data resides in an Excel spreadsheet from where doctors attempt to convey that to the patient. “It’s really not intuitive. There’s a lot of manual operations. It doesn’t say anything to the patient. (The patient) only leaves with the next meeting date,” said Lapointe.

The agility of the iPad also means the doctor and patient can have a more interactive side-by-side chat about treatment status and progress. And the app’s single-page of information is a concise, yet valuable, summary. “(The patient) can print it and take the report, that’s just one page, and put it on the fridge and he can see where he is,” said Lapointe.

Moving forward, Lapointe wants to take his idea to the next step: an actual prototype. To that end, he hopes to get the funding by striking up a partnership with key contacts in the health-care industry.

Another winning idea in the top five ImagineNation Ideas challenge is also a mobile app, but this one’s for expectant mothers. Jeff Biletchi, a nurse with Niagara Region Public Health in Thorold, Ont., is one of three people behind Mom2B, which also netted a $5,000-prize.

Biletchi said it’s an all-in-one app to help women anywhere from the initial fertility planning to actual pregnancy stage. The app gives useful checklists and reminders throughout the entire process for things such as pre-pregnancy multi-vitamins and doctor appointments.

“Research shows that frequent reminders to the mother can improve birth outcomes,” said Biletchi. The other two brains behind the Mom2B idea are Lia Swanson and Gillian McDonald, who also work at Niagara Region Public Health.

And not only does the app serve as a monitoring tool for labour contractions, it also, when a mother is on vacation and goes into labour, will locate the nearest hospital using the GIS (geospatial information system) capability of the device.

Mom2B, very importantly, said Biletchi, is outfitted with Canadian health information, compared to existing apps out there that are developed for American users. “In Canada, we don’t have different health recommendations for pregnancy,” said Biletchi.

Biletchi and his co-innovators want to see the Mom2B idea converted to an actual app, but haven’t decided on whether it will be a paid app or not.

Christopher Clarke, a Puslinch, Ont.-based doctor, won the first-place prize of $10,000 for his Web-based system for recording and scheduling immunizations. A $5,000-prize was awarded to Pamela Chan and Richard Norman for an app that would help discharged patients and their health-care providers with the homebound transition. And Donna Byrne and her team also won $5,000 for an app that tracks key health information for patients with chronic illnesses.

Follow Kathleen Lau on Twitter: @KathleenLau

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