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Alberta improves bone care through digital health research

CALGARY, Alberta, Feb. 23, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Alberta Innovates and Alberta Health Services are announcing eight projects from the Partnership for Research and Innovation in the Health System ? Digital Health (PRIHS) program. Eight researchers from the University of Alberta and University of Calgary will share $9.5 million in funding for digital health projects that will provide promising solutions to priority health system challenges.

One of the successful projects is being led by Dr. Prism Schneider, from the McCaig Institute for Bone and Joint Health, in the Cumming School of Medicine, at the University of Calgary, who will look at bone health. At least one in three females, and one in five males, will experience a fragility fracture due to osteoporosis or low bone mass at some point in their lifetime. Fragility fractures occur from a standing height, or less. Individuals experiencing a fragility fracture are two to four times more likely to have another fracture in the following two years.

Dr. Schneider is developing an electronic health solution that will alert, monitor, educate, survey, triage, and communicate with patients to ensure engagement in life-long bone health care in order to reduce both the personal and economic burden of fragility fractures on patients, caregivers, and the healthcare system.

35 expressions of interest, and applications, for this year's PRIHS funding were received and ultimately eight were funded. Investigators will have up to three years to complete their projects. Researchers will use technologies to support the delivery of innovative care models that empower patients, families and health care teams to improve quality of care.


"Health care needs to be efficient, effective and timely, and innovation supports those objectives. These projects illustrate the ingenuity of Alberta's research and innovation teams. With their resourcefulness we can develop a more progressive health system that offers improved care to Albertans." 

Jason Copping, Minister of Health

"Technology is not just an industry, it is the future of every industry, and it must be the future of healthcare. Research projects like this are critically important to developing new advanced treatments, and ultimately delivering better healthcare for all Albertans."

Nate Glubish, Minister, Technology and Innovation

"By integrating innovation into our health care system we continue to improve health outcomes for Albertans. Alberta Innovates is pleased to partner with Alberta Health Services and the Strategic Clinical Networks to add innovative new programs to our health system. We congratulate all eight applicants, and we look forward to the results that flow from this partnership."

Laura Kilcrease, CEO, Alberta Innovates

"Using virtual care technologies, AHS can increase access to care for patients closer to home, particularly those in rural and remote communities. By supporting digital health initiatives such as Virtual MD through Health Link, we will grow our ability to provide virtual care to patients with less urgent concerns. In doing so, we can improve capacity within our urgent care and emergency departments to care for those with more medically complex concerns."

Dr. Braden Manns, Vice President,
Provincial Clinical Excellence, Alberta Health Services

"Dr. Schnieder's research exemplifies how innovations in digital and data-enabled technologies have the potential for tremendous positive impact on our health system. UCalgary is grateful for Alberta Innovates' support of our researchers and colleagues in the Alberta Health Services Strategic Clinical Networks. The PRIHS program enables our scholars to align their research efforts with the needs of our health system to advance evidence-based solutions to improve healthcare quality and health outcomes for Albertans."

Dr. Andre Buret, Associate Vice President, Research
University of Calgary

Successful PRIHS ? Digital Health Projects:

InstitutionLead ApplicantLead SCNProject TitleFunding Amount
University of CalgaryKamala AdhikariPan-SCNIntegrating Prevention into Connect Care for Health (IPiC-Health$1,050,000.00
University of AlbertaMaria Castro-CodesalMedicine (Respiratory)Adoption and enhancement of a care pathway for children with medical complexity: an implementation evaluation project for tracheostomy in pediatrics$1,128,393.00
University of AlbertaJustin ChenMedicine (Hospital)Optimization of Staphylococcus aureus Bacteremia Management (OPTIMUS-SAB)$990,175.00

University of AlbertaAlim HirjiMedicine (Respiratory)Telemonitoring to reduce adverse events for hospitalized patients in Alberta$1,376,850.00

University of CalgaryMatthew JamesMedicine (Kidney)

UPTAKE: Using personalized risk and digital tools to guide transitions following acute kidney events ? computer decision support and remote monitoring to reduce acute care hospitalization.$1,243,670.28

University of AlbertaDarren LauDiabetes, Obesity, and NutritionLinking diabetes care: An integrated digital health approach to diabetes with First Nations in Alberta (LINK).$1,433,750.00

University of CalgaryPrism SchneiderBone and Joint HealthPOWER Program: Personalized Osteoporosis Care With Early Recognition, a novel digital provincial outpatient fracture liaison service.$1,230,489.00

University of AlbertaKaren WongDigestive
Patient dashboard (PD-IDB) to improve complex care and self-management of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)$1,115,895.92


Alberta innovates is the province's most comprehensive research and innovation agency. From funding to commercialization, we are Alberta's innovation engine. We foster and accelerate research and innovation to benefit citizens and drive economic growth. 

We are currently managing a project portfolio worth $1.2 billion. 

Alberta Innovates works across sectors to fund, partner and enable entrepreneurship throughout the province. The corporation operates in 11 locations with more than one million sq ft of industrial testing and lab facilities and 600 acres of farmland. Alberta Innovates employs 589 highly skilled scientists, business and technical professionals and has an annual operating budget of $250 million. 

Learn how Alberta Innovates 

Media Contact:
Dwayne Brunner - Senior Manager, Media & Strategic Community Relations
Alberta Innovates
587-572-4091 (CELL and SMS)

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