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Collaboration, innovation themes of home health innovations workshop

Attendees at Home-BASE workshop

Researchers, practitioners and community advocates met at UB to discuss ways to impact public health via home health innovations.

By JANE STOYLE WELCH

Published May 22, 2014

What innovations are needed to help people remain in their homes as they age?

That question was at the center of the discussion during “Home Health Innovations: Bridging Research and Practice,” a workshop organized by UB’s Center for Excellence in Home Health and Well-Being through Adaptive Smart Environments (Home-BASE).

More than 85 researchers, practitioners and community advocates attended the May 15 event, which was designed to promote collaboration between industry and academia.

Following a welcome from Provost Charles F. Zukoski, the workshop began with a lecture by Tilak Dutta, a scientist at Toronto Rehabilitation Institute-University Health Network. Dutta shared examples of how advanced design tools help solve problems, such as walking on icy pavement, that are problematic to aging populations.

Later during the event, Michael W. Cropp, president and CEO of Independent Health, spoke about the need to transform the nation’s health care system and how advanced design tools can help accomplish that.

Breakout group sessions focused on developing grant proposals on such topics as behavior and activity monitoring in the home, asthma monitoring and prevention, home health informatics, monitoring physiologic health indicators, technologies that support healthy nutrition, home-supported physical activity and exercise, and technologies that support personal hygiene.

“The sessions enabled the attendees, who included UB faculty and students, professionals in clinical practice, professors from different schools, and local health care providers and companies, to brainstorm together across disciplinary groups,” said Victor Paquet, Home-BASE director and associate professor in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering in UB’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

Ann Bisantz, professor and chair of Industrial and Systems Engineering and a faculty lead in Home-BASE, said such events help design engineers better understand the needs of clinical professionals.

“Gaining an appreciation for the issues and problems faced by professionals in clinical practice, which is not always apparent to people who do design, enables us to develop effective solutions that can be used in the real world and is consistent with the spirit of UB 2020 and the Communities of Excellence initiatives,” Bisantz said.

The workshop was sponsored by the Office of the Provost, and the schools of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Architecture and Planning, Nursing, and Public Health and Health Professions, as well as the Center for Inclusive Design and Environmental Access, and the UB 2020 Civic Engagement and Public Policy Research Initiative.

Home-BASE, one of UB’s “E”-fund initiatives, aims to develop transformative research and educational activities that combine faculty expertise in engineering, health professions, nursing and architecture to advance home health and wellness initiatives.