For Kieran Kwok, enrolling in the eHealth program meant that he could apply his passion for data and technology to improve patient care in Canada’s health system. eHealth is a joint program offered by the DeGroote School of Business and McMaster Faculties of Engineering and Health Sciences. As an undergraduate student in the Biomedical Discovery and Commercialization (BDC) program at McMaster University, he first developed an interest in health care data analytics.
Before the eHealth program, I did not fully understand the complex barriers that prevented digital solutions within health care in Canada. Two barriers preventing the implementation of digital solutions are the siloed nature of and the resistance to change within our current health care system,” Kwok says. “These are complex issues which I have taken a great interest in and try to solve while implementing solutions for clinical research practices in my role at Lumedi.”
Kwok joined the Lumedi team after his eight-month internship in the eHealth program, where he developed software solutions for clinical research and patient support programs. Now as a product manager, he leads his team in designing a strategic data warehouse and data management systems to enable multiple data collection methods and patient interaction. This technology will improve clinical care, research, trials, and patient support programs.
“Clinical research studies have utilized technologies to collect data from patients in a remote setting throughout the pandemic,” says Kwok. “In late 2019, our team began to develop a research participant portal and mobile app technologies to collect data from patients remotely through electronic patient-reported outcomes (ePROs) and medical device integrations. This has allowed multiple research teams in our network to both begin and complete their studies during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Impact of COVID-19 on health care
The pandemic has had an enormous impact on many aspects of health care, directly as an infectious disease and indirectly by causing disruptions to our health care system. Kwok says that one positive impact that has come out of the COVID-19 pandemic is the accelerated adoption of digital health solutions. “Within the past year, health organizations across Canada have adopted digital solutions from using telehealth platforms for virtual care appointments to using medical devices and the internet of things (IoT) for remote patient monitoring,” he said.
Kwok predicts that digital technologies will help build resilient health care systems after the coronavirus pandemic. He believes that passionate advocates are needed to adopt e-Health solutions. Resilience is achieved by focusing on what is to come, striving to continuously improve, displaying empathy, and adapting to change.