Ideal Timing: Digital Health Degree at Mohawk College

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Mohawk College’s new Digital Health degree program builds on its deep expertise in the field and will prepare the experts who will lead the continuing digital transformation of healthcare that features everything from electronic health records and wearable devices to virtual health, data analytics, and artificial intelligence.

Mohawk’s four-year honours Digital Health program that begins in September brings together computer science, health and business into a dy- namic interdisciplinary field and will blend experiential and classroom learning with industry applied research.

It is a natural progression of the college’s global leadership and innovation in digital health established through the mHealth & eHealth Development and Innovation Centre (MEDIC).

“This is the first stand-alone degree program at Mohawk College and there is great excitement around that milestone,” said Elizabeth Fabbroni Martin, Associate Dean, Electrical and Computer Engineering.

“It will feature the hands-on learning and small class sizes we are known for, along with the theoretical and fundamental knowledge that comes with a de- gree. This is a unique offering that leverages Mohawk’s expertise and reputation in digital health.”

The program, which is taught by faculty from both the School of Engineering Technology and the School of Health, is complemented by a new Digital Health post-graduate certificate aimed at working professionals in the fields of health, business and technology.

Degree students will benefit from state-of-the-art labs, work placements, and a two-semester capstone project working with an industry partner. They will gain a comprehensive grounding in the digital health tools and platforms, strat- egies, policies, and procedures that enable high-quality healthcare, says Martin.

“Mohawk has established leadership in engineering, business and healthcare, a strong complementary relationship with industry thanks to MEDIC, and Hamilton is home to amazing healthcare institutions that are committed to pursuing innovation. That makes Mohawk the perfect place for this program.”

MEDIC, Canada’s only Technology Access Centre (TAC) in Digital Health, has helped governments, not-for-profits, and businesses develop innovative digital health solutions since 2007. Its eHealth Ontario Innovation Lab pro- vides an open-access platform for companies to test and scale their products in a virtual environment.

A recent explosion in digital integration in healthcare makes the timing of the degree program ideal, says Martin.

“The pandemic has presented the opportunity to take care of people in new ways. That was happening already but the pandemic required a massive shift. And we are just at the beginning of the transformation and the reinvention of what healthcare looks like.”

Graduates will have the skills and experience to design and develop health- care solutions in a range of settings – from hospitals and other clinical facilities to government agencies to technology companies – that will improve patient outcomes and experiences and make the healthcare system more efficient.

There is a real industry need for the intersection of skills that bridges the gap between technology, business and healthcare, says Andriana Lukich, Director of Digital Solutions at St. Joseph’s Healthcare in Hamilton.

She oversees a team of 50 responsible for clinical platforms and patient por- tals, data analytics, electronic medical records, and virtual care. They facilitate creative problem-solving across interdisciplinary teams, design solutions, and engage with users and act on their feedback.

After working with MEDIC, Lukich was asked to contribute to a program advisory committee for the digital degree.

“I said yes right away because this is a passion project. Getting this program right is so valuable for this community because it will foster digital health experts of the future.”

The program is built on years of consultation and collaboration with industry partners.

“Mohawk is taking a practical and holistic approach to ensuring graduates develop the right toolbox of skills,” said Lukich.

“Getting this right means better experiences for patients.”

For more information about the Digital Health Degree at Mohawk College, please visit mohawkcollege.ca/digitalhealth