Maritime mHealth: a CATAAlliance and Digital Nova Scotia Conference Report
January 11, 2016

Conference Highlights

“Uber is eating the taxi business, Air BnB is eating the hotel industry…What is going to eat healthcare?” – Dr. Brett Taylor at Maritime mHealth

On November 26th CATAAlliance and Digital Nova Scotia (DNS) hosted Maritime mHealth: Building a Connected Patient-centric Digital Healthcare System. This one day event, held in partnership with the IWK Health Centre, Health QR, and BioNova, brought together members of the ICT, life-sciences, and health communities, this event aims to engage stakeholders to look at the opportunities and barriers to a progressive mobile health-care system in our region.

The first panel session of the day featured Patricia Ryan of Health QR and Rick Power of IBM who spoke on their respective collaborative approaches to connected patient innovation. Health QR recently launched an innovative mobile app. to help patients manage their prescription medication and has been working in conjunction with pharmacies to offer. Rick Power provided a great overview on cognitive computing and the collaborative power of IBM Watson, highlighting Watson’s ability to match cancer patients with clinical trial in minutes as part of a unique partnership with the Mayo Clinic. Collaboration is leading to consumer empowerment, which is leading to improved patient care.

The theme of collaboration held strong throughout the day as a necessary approach to creative, innovative healthcare tools. As Dr. Brett Taylor highlighted in his presentation, it’s imperative for industry, healthcare (both clinicians and administrators), patients, and government to recognize that we all play an important role in healthcare innovation.

A fantastic example of collaborative success and the current trends in gamification advancing the mhealth sector is EverAge Consulting’s iCare app., which was developed with the IWK Health Centre and two NSCC game development students who had a pretty epic co-op placement with EverAge Consulting to help develop the application. iCare Adventure is a game-based information system designed to mitigate anxiety, fear and discomfort. Andrew Wilcox, Founder and President, was a panelist in the afternoon panel discussion focused on selling into healthcare. This panel covered the challenges and enablers of selling into the healthcare system, covering everything from interoperability, privacy, trial-based evidence, outcomes-based research, and more. Other participants included Jordan Kyriakidis, Co-founder and CEO, QRA Corp., Marli MacNeil, Executive Director, Innovation & Collaboration, Nova Scotia Health Research Foundation, and Glenn Chamberlain, Acting Regional Director, Office of Small and Medium Enterprises, Public Works and Government Services Canada.

Recognizing that we should gather insight and lessons learned from the best of the best, the keynote speaker was Dr. Benny Zeevi, the leading global mHealth expert. Dr. Zeevi is currently the Managing General Partner at Tel Aviv Venture Partners and leads the fund’s Life Science and Cleantech investments. With a particularly unique background as both a physician and a venture capitalist, Dr. Zeevi offered significant insight during his presentation into the success Israel has had in mobile health and emerging trends in mobile technology. How far ahead is Israel? It’s had 100% electronic healthcare records for all of its citizens for the past 23 years! The bottom line for mHealth innovation: better care and efficiency will drive healthcare. Dr. Zeevi was clear, industry needs to innovate on those principals. Israel’s collaborative approach between government, academia, and industry has also been instrumental in its success as a “Startup Nation” and as a leader in mHealth technology.

What can Nova Scotia do to drive an innovative healthcare system with mobile technology? Our main take-aways from Maritime mHealth include:

  • Collaboration is fundamental for an innovative healthcare sector and there are various important players who all have a role – they all need to communicate regularly

  • Our region needs to look at global perspectives and best practices from other jurisdictions

  • Clinical trials are essential to prove that your product works and has value in the healthcare system – industry needs to know the system to sell to it effectively

  • We need champions in the healthcare system – innovation needs to be part of the business model

  • Industry/healthcare connections need to continue

The New Year is here; let’s continue the conversation! Maritime mHealth was truly a collaborative, community-minded initiative! We are committed to working with our partners and stakeholders to continue to the conversation. Stay tuned to future Mobile & Digital Health initiatives from CATA! Contact David Farnes ( to get more involved in the Alliance’s mHealth initiative.

Interested in Digital Nova Scotia? Opportunities exist to work with Digital Nova Scotia and its partners! Contact DNS at to get more involved in future mHealth programming.