A $225,000 investment in health research will examine the use of mobile technology to manage chronic disease and promote smoking cessation.
Connected Voices is a research project, which will evaluate what impact mHealth - mobile health via smart phones and tablets - has on quitting rates and nicotine dependence for smokers over 12, 24 and 52 weeks. Simultaneously, it will increase understanding of how inter-professional health teams communicate when using information and communication technologies in a rural province.
"This project has great potential to advance the development of mHealth, promote smoking cessation and the management of chronic disease in our province and ultimately support our efforts to build a more sustainable health care system," said Health Minister Hugh Flemming. "This project demonstrates our province's ability to generate promising medical interventions that will help all New Brunswick patients, their families and communities."
"Considering New Brunswick has one of the highest rates of smoking prevalence and one of the highest rates of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in the country, this project is greatly needed," said Michel Johnson, professor at the Université de Moncton, on behalf of the entire team of health researchers and partners.
Connected Voices is supported through $150,000 in funding from Pfizer Canada Inc. and $75,000 made available through the New Brunswick Health Research Foundation's Strategic Initiative program.
"Pfizer Canada is pleased to support projects that embrace innovation like mobile technology to address public health issues like smoking and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease," said Dr. Vratislav Hadrava, chief medical officer for Pfizer Canada Inc. "The benefits of quitting are substantial and immediate. Smoking cessation is the single most important step that smokers can take to enhance the length and quality of their lives."
The foundation will align the participation of the private sector, policy makers and health-care providers along with patient needs.
"The New Brunswick Health Research Foundation is dedicated to health research and innovation in New Brunswick and we look forward to guiding the evaluation and impact assessment of the Connected Voices program," said Dr. Bruno Battistini, chief executive officer of the foundation. "Our aim is to develop valuable tools and implementation process that other provinces can also use."