Poster Presentations

P-32: Commercialization of mHealth and eHealth in Canada

MS. Dia Rahman

Dia Rahman,
Dr. Plinio Morita

University of Waterloo
Faculty of Applied Health Services

Topic: eHealth

mHealth is a rapidly growing area of research that constantly changes to meet new technology and needs of the population. As the scope of mHealth grows, so does the diversity of the challenges in the knowledge needed to support the growth (Canada Health Infoway, 2016). Current government regulations surrounding health technology, specially pertaining to mHealth, are vague and do not facilitate sustainable long term growth (Labajo & Xiao, 2015). There are many stakeholders with responsibilities in delivering health care services, developing innovative solutions, and encouraging commercialization, in publicly funded health care systems often results in tension experienced while people advocate for their role.

In this presentation, the barriers and opportunities around commercializing mHealth and eHealth will be thoroughly discussed. The literature review will guide the identification of additional themes that will be discussed in this presentation. Such literature scoping review will be able to bridge the gap between the academic world, clinical practice and as well as the health tech industry (which encompasses small to medium range startups and corporations).

We will be presenting a scoping review supplemented by interviews of key stakeholders that have been involved with the commercialization of mHealth technology.  Six bibliographic databases (Medline, ACM, IEEE, Web of Science, PsychInfo, and Scopus) were systematically searched according to Levac’s methodology to identify papers that describe our objectives of barriers and facilitators to commercializing mHealth interventions (Levac, 2010). The goal of this review is to provide a resource for developing new mHealth and eHealth focused interventions that researchers, engineers, designers, administrators working within the healthcare system can seek guidance from.

The initial literature searches identified several gaps that have limited the commercialization of mHealth technology:

  1. Lack of consistent terminology defining mHealth and eHealth technology

  2. Lack of definition between go to market tools vs. wearables vs. EHR’s vs. efficiency in Canadian and North American Markets

  3. Multidisciplinary expertise is needed for mHealth and eHealth technology succeed in the long run in the current healthcare system.

Several of the outcomes of this research project are of relevance for the Waterloo Wellington healthcare community, as many have to navigate this ecosystem to be able to commercialize technologies developed in their research programs/ tech hub. Ultimately, we would like to make a complex system like the Canadian healthcare system more collaborative and transparent for innovators, clinicians, investors, administrators, and researchers for them to work together and benefit by contributing to each other's work. This process would lead to increase trust among stakeholders in the healthcare system and would create a culture designed to share, communicate, and collaborate on health innovation focused projects instead of being in silos.

Commercialization of eHealth and mHealth specific projects in the Canadian public healthcare system is a very complex topic that involves various stakeholders, yet there is certain gap associated with the perception of risk when it comes to ideating, prototyping, deploying certain healthcare focused technologies. Academic research on commercialization factors behind eHealth and mHealth is relatively a new field, and there is significance behind defining and further understanding this part of the healthcare system as this is where the future of healthcare is going to head towards.