The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for improved technology and artificial intelligence to connect doctors and patients. LEAP | Pecaut Centre for Social Impact has partnered with the MUHC Foundation and selected Dr. Abhinav Sharma’s MyHeart Counts Canada for its Health Futures Accelerator. LEAP is donating $100,000 in financial support for Dr. Sharma’s innovative, artificial-intelligence app designed to get Canadians moving.

Dr. Abhinav Sharma is a junior scientist at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC) and a physician in the Division of Cardiology at the MUHC. MyHeart Counts Canada is a priority project of the MUHC Foundation’s Fix Broken Hearts Campaign, a $50 million fundraising initiative to transform cardiovascular care.

MyHeart Counts Canada’s goal is to provide cardiology patients with real-time feedback and support to improve physical activity incrementally. The app will provide a cooperative solution between doctors and patients using technology as a tool to connect them.

“LEAP’s support will allow MyHeart Counts Canada to bring emerging technology to Canadians. We are really excited to work with LEAP to help people improve their physical activity and, ultimately, their cardiovascular health. 80% of Canadians are too inactive, our goal is to encourage people to move more, and live longer, heart-healthier lives.” -Dr. Abhinav Sharma, junior scientist at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC)

The MyHeart Counts Canada app is currently in development and has important implications for the future of digital health; particularly, for those who live in remote communities or don’t have access to a full-time physician. Dr. Sharma believes there’s no end to the ways in which technology can improve the health of Canadians.

 

Video transcription: We know that 80 percent of Canadians are physically inactive and we are building an app that’s going to motivate individuals to walk a little bit more every day. Because, we know that for every 5 minutes of exercise and activity; this is associated with an extra 1 minute of life-gain. So that doesn’t seem like a lot; but when you add this up over the days and weeks and months and years, we can really reduce the chance of individuals developing chronic diseases.

We were super, super, super excited. LEAP is such a fantastic organization and they have launched a series of really phenomenal ventures that aims to improve health and wellbeing for Canadians. MyHeart Counts Canada, so the app at the end of the day is a tool to motivate and nudge individuals to promote their physical activity by the use of selective messaging and by the use of videos.

Without the MUHC Foundation, I don’t even think I could have thought about starting this project here. The Foundation has been so supportive in helping get the infrastructure ready, in getting funding and philanthropy involved. We really want to encourage people to think about donating to the MUHC Foundation because the money you give can really help to drive innovation, to drive the advancement of science and technology and allow us to bring innovative new ideas to the forefront so that people across Canada can benefit.

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