CBU Nursing Students Shortlisted for Spark Competition

Innovacorp‘s Spark Cape Breton competition, which launched in September of 2014, has released its shortlist of competitors. With an impressive 28 submissions, the shortlist of 10 features a young, dynamic group from Cape Breton University’s nursing program. Chris Walker, Tanas Sylliboy, Kate MacEachern, Kelsey Robertson and Taylor Sibley have been chosen as finalists.

As part of the nursing course, NURS4101, Community Health Nursing II – Population Focused Approach, students are required to develop a business case on how they can improve patient outcomes and save health care dollars. CBU’s nursing group developed an app called FootChek; FootChek and FootChekPro applications offer healthcare professionals and consumers a real-time, interactive diabetic foot monitoring application. “The software application connects healthcare consumers with clinicians to help reduce the incidence of diabetic foot ulcers,” says Chris Walker, fourth year nursing student from New Waterford. “It does so through scheduled foot assessments using photo imaging and data entry. Both of which can be easily performed by either party. Any changes from a previous baseline entry that are entered is analyzed and detected by our application. The app then notifies both parties of the need for an immediate in person assessment with possible treatment implementation to prevent the occurrence of a possible foot ulcer.”

With the economic cost of our healthcare system rising annually, the group saw a need for cost-saving interventions. "In developing our app we will save health care dollars,” says Kelsie Robertson, a fourth year nursing student from Sydney River. “This means the remainder of the money can be used elsewhere in the healthcare system.”

"It is important to consider upstream and preventative approaches to the increase in chronic diseases such as diabetes and foot ulcers,” says Taylor Sibley, a fourth year nursing student from North Sydney. “This is what we are aiming at achieving with FootChek, preventing the health issue or catching it at an early stage, therefore decreasing the costs to our health care system. With the support and encouragement of our Professor Corrine McIsaac we decided to take it to the next level and enter into the Spark Cape Breton Competition.”

As a part of the competition the group will participate in a Start-up boot camp in late November. On December 10, 2014, the group will pitch their idea to judges and  the winners will be announced on December 12, 2014. They are competing for a $50,000 award to aid them in the development of their app.

"They inspire me,” says Corrine McIsaac, Associate Professor of Nursing at Cape Breton University. “It excites me to see how these students are demonstrating leadership in the development of technology. In my experience, technology improves patient outcomes, decreases health care costs and helps to create sustainable advances in health care. As the next generation of nurses launches their careers, I am both proud and confident that we are in good hands."