issues and experts

SFU experts involved in new virtual healthcare initiative

June 04, 2020


Scott Lear, Faculty of Health Sciences, (Lear also holds the Pfizer/Heart and Stroke Foundation Chair in Cardiovascular Prevention Research at St. Paul’s Hospital)

Andrew Sixsmith, Department of Gerontology, Director, SFU STAR Institute and Co-Scientific Director, AGE-WELL NCE, 604.783.7192,

Melissa Shaw; University Communications and Marketing, 236.880.3297,

Patients unable to access traditional face to face outpatient programs due to COVID-19 will benefit from a new initiative, Stronger Together: Social Infrastructure for Community Health, one of the new projects announced today by the Digital Technology Supercluster.  Simon Fraser University health sciences professor Scott Lear is on the project team and will be helping to transfer his web-based cardiac rehabilitation program onto the project’s new mobile platform.

Curatio, a digital health company headquartered in B.C., is leading the project, which combines a private social network that uses AI, matchmaking and machine learning to connect patients with support through a real-time patient monitoring platform.

Lear says the new initiative will benefit those waiting for surgery, living with a chronic condition or facing a health challenge, connecting them virtually with hospitals, doctors and community organizations to get the support they need.

Lear began investigating using the internet to deliver care to patients in rural and remote areas through his virtual cardiac rehab program more than a decade ago. Today he uses coordinated digital media platforms to inform the public of both his latest heart research and established good practices for preventing heart disease.

SFU’s Science and Technology for Aging Research (STAR) Institute is a program partner in the project and is committed to supporting community-engaged research in the rapidly growing area of technology and aging through their expertise in program design for the digital environment.

“The STAR Institute is excited to be involved in this initiative that will benefit patients and to be working with companies like Curatio, who are leaders in the digital health field,” says SFU gerontology professor Andrew Sixsmith, who directs the STAR Institute and is co-scientific director for AGE-WELL NCE, Canada’s Technology and Aging Network.

Additional project partners include: Cloud DX; Centre for Chronic Disease Prevention and Management at University of British Columbia; University Health Network; Pacific Blue Cross; Wellness Garage; On Call Health;