Under the direction of Dr. Maryam Sadeghi, a freshly minted Simon Fraser alum, Surrey has launched theDigital Health Hub, a proposed centre for Canada’s life sciences that could market digital health technology to physicians and patients around the world.
The “hub” has been given the mandate to help develop frontline, clinical ideas and practices into marketable products. So far the centre has attracted projects including dental solutions, cancer prevention and medical imaging.
“[The DHH] is the brain behind the technology that we want to develop for health-care,” says Dr. Sadeghi.
Anchored along what Surrey’s municipal leaders have labeled Innovation Boulevard, the one-square-mile stretch of health-related organizations along King George Boulevard has been propelled by the province’s largest investment in health-care infrastructure in B.C.’s history.
As part of the health hub project launched this month, Sadeghi and her team opened up a laboratory and operations space where students and researchers can focus and develop their ideas for real world application. Through a project called the Venture Connection Incubator, SFU students can develop these products in a collaborative environment with access to industry and clinical professionals.
Sadeghi’s own company, MetaOptima Technology Inc., is one of the first companies to take part in the incubator. Using cost-effective digital technology, patient care and monitoring of chronic diseases can happen in real time, she explains.
MetaOptima Technology Inc. was shortlisted for the 2013 BCIC New Ventures Competition for an app they created. Sadeghi and the team were awarded the $40,000 Wavefront Wireless prize on Wednesday for theMoleScope app that helps users detect the onset of skin cancer.
“One of our focus is innovative senior healthcare solutions to keep them active and in charge of their health by using digital technology,” Sadeghi says.
Dr. Ryan D’Arcy, a neuroscientist at the DHH, sees it playing a critical role in turning ideas into products that can change the face of health care.
“The most important part of medical research is to be able to turn it into a product that can work in hospitals and clinics worldwide,” D’Arcy explains. “It’s touching people’s lives as well as generating business growth in B.C.”