Information technology serving health care

Guy Paré is a Professor with HEC Montréal’s Department of Information Technologies and holds the School’s Research Chair in Digital Health. He has devoted himself to studying how information technology and artificial intelligence impact the care provided to the public. Theoretically, digital health should help to unclog a congested health care system, considerably reducing costs and improving the quality of care. Professor Paré and his team of researchers want to find out if the theory is line with reality.

Les technologies de l'information au service de la santé

“In the field of telehealth alone,” says Professor Paré, “there are some very promising initiatives that can provide major benefits, both for patients looking after their own conditions and for the medical community.” Paré’s telecare research focuses on a number of vulnerable populations: patients suffering from lung disease, heart failure, diabetes, reduced autonomy, etc. “For example, when it comes to monitoring gestational diabetes, our study showed that expectant mothers who received remote follow-ups made 56% fewer clinical visits.” That’s a 16% cost reduction per patient for the health care system.

The increasing use of IT doesn’t just augur well for state finances. Digital health care can also allow seniors with reduced physical or cognitive autonomy to remain at home longer before they are placed in a residential and long-term care centre (CHSLD). Researchers can turn seniors’ living environments into smart homes and monitor their habits in real time. Sleep, diet, hygiene and social life all generate valuable data for travelling nurses, who can provide targeted intervention when needed.

Paré has no doubt that digital health will expand in Quebec and, above all, become part of the solution to the problem of an aging population and a congested health care system. “The COVID-19 health crisis was an eye-opener. People want to continue living at home for as long as possible; no one wants to live out their days in a CHSLD.” And his objectives? “Finding ways to provide the best care possible is what really motivates me as a researcher.”

Research Chair in Digital Health

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