Using Digital Health to make seniors' lives safer

Picture of a hand touching a touch screen

GERAS Centre for Aging Research Logo

The GERAS Centre for Aging Research, part of Hamilton Health Sciences and affiliated with McMaster University, focuses its innovative research initiatives on maximizing the resilience of vulnerable older adults. GERAS asked MEDIC to provide the technical expertise needed to develop the Fit-Frailty App.

MEDIC logo

 

Research Area: MEDIC
Research Team: Andrew Norgate, Jen Armstrong, Jamie Forde, Justin Blackwell, Andrew Lister

 

Future Ready Challenge

Over 1 million Canadians are considered to be medically frail. As Canada’s population ages and the number of seniors increases, the number of those that are medically frail is predicted to double by 2030. The impact on the healthcare system is significant. Frail patients are at a higher risk of experiencing medical complications, resulting in longer hospital stays, and have a higher likelihood of being discharged to an assisted living facility.

 

R & D Collaboration

The GERAS Centre for Aging Research, part of Hamilton Health Sciences and affiliated with McMaster University, focuses their innovative research initiatives on maximizing the resilience of vulnerable older adults. Recognizing the need for efficient and accurate assessment of frail patients, the research team at GERAS wanted to leverage technology for better patient outcomes. The research team developed a concept for an innovative digital health solution called the Fit-Frailty App: a customizable, interactive assessment tool that assists healthcare professionals in clinical decision making and developing care plans. Results can be used to facilitate care and have better-informed discussions with patients and families. GERAS asked MEDIC to provide the technical expertise needed to validate and enhance the functionality of the initial prototype of the Fit-Frailty App so that it was aligned with digital health best practices.

 

Innovative Results

The assessment tool was built using a co-design process that included technical and healthcare professionals along with a user group of older adults. The research team at MEDIC prioritized the usability of the product, developing an accessible user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) that took into consideration the motor and cognitive impairments that frequently impact seniors. The iOS app allows for the tracking and assessment of the physical, cognitive, emotional, functional, social and environmental factors as well as other medical conditions faced by the patient. It is a crucial tool in helping clinicians identify appropriate treatments for frail patients.

The year-long collaboration with Mohawk College has helped GERAS meet its mission of improving the lives of seniors living with complex medical needs. The collaboration prepared GERAS for the next phase and iteration of the technology, which is now being co-developed with Hamilton Health Sciences in preparation for clinical trials and launching on the App Store. It also has demonstrated the value of technology in translating evidence-based research into practice.