Applied Research

AIF Project

Building Decision-Support Through Dynamic Workflow Systems, Academia and Industry Working Together for Better Healthcare

The project Building Decision-support through Dynamic Workflow Systems for Health Care is funded by Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) through the Atlantic Innovation Fund (AIF)

Through research, innovative software science and information systems engineering, carried out at the StFX Centre for Logic and Information, in close collaboration with local health authorities, we will offer improved software functionality over existing products, thereby addressing critical problems currently faced in the health informatics market and other economic sectors and expand the knowledge-based economy.

The team, led by Dr. Wendy MacCaull, is researching the conceptual, scientific and technological problems underlying the design and development of dynamic workflow systems for complex and distributed processes. We seek to apply the knowledge gained to development of innovative market-ready workflow software products for web-based case management to support decision-making in the health domain.

MacCaulls research in verification technology or model checking enables software engineers to find errors efficiently in complex system designs; offers quality assurance; adds security for a range of both common and critical computing applications; which ultimately equals a high degree of customer satisfaction. Research into information processing and integration yields highly usable knowledge from the data.

In this project, we will develop an innovative software platform and prototypes for several workflow software systems for case management:


Patient-centered Palliative Care

Led by Dr. W. MacCaull (Dept of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science) and Professor Heather Jewers, (School of Nursing), this research capitalizes on a multidisciplinary collaboration among researchers at St. Francis Xavier University, the Guysborough Antigonish Strait Health Authority (GASHA), and the University of Ottawa, to research hospice palliative care processes and outcomes. This research incorporates an approach to systems design intended to overcome existing fragmentation, and examines how a customized integrated adaptive workflow system, developed from a research-based dynamic knowledge base (i.e., an ontology), can improve individual patient information management, support effective care planning, and facilitate enhanced patient outcomes in GASHA

Heart and Stroke Project

Secondary Stroke Preventative Health Services and Care (new)


Wellness Initiative for Seniors Health in GASHA

The objective of this program is to research, develop and implement a tracking and monitoring system for a new service area in seniors health in GASHA entitled Wellness Initiative for Seniors Health as presented in September 2007. This will be a collaboration of a team of providers involved in seniors health care, subject matter experts in computer science and information management from StFX along with the over arching ACOA sponsored AIF project industry partner.

GASHA has established this new area in response to an aging population and ongoing pressures on the acute care system created by the increasing number of individuals waiting for nursing home placement in hospital medical beds. The aim of the service is to create a seamless, integrated continuum of care for our senior population that improves accessibility to service across the district, provides timely intervention as needed and keeps service at the community level.

The model incorporates a broad range of seniors health services aimed at providing the right care to the right people in the right place. These services include, but are not limited to:

1) health promotion activities for well seniors,

2) screening for community-dwelling seniors at risk and

3) provision of integrated and interdisciplinary care planning for seniors at the community level in order to restore them to their previous functional level after a healthcare crisis and to maintain the functional fitness / mobility for frail seniors residing in our district.

The long term impact of an appropriate information management tracking and monitoring system to support this new delivery service will:

facilitate tracking of how individuals are accessing and progressing through the seniors health continuum,

review outcomes to ensure that our seniors health continuum is achieving the long term goal of keeping seniors healthy, safe and independent in their homes and communities for as long as possible and

establish a means of communication and information sharing between providers in the community in order to ensure care planning can be optimized.

The implementation of advanced technology concurrently with the new service can eventually be integrated with the provincial Electronic Health Record (EHR system), enhancing communication among all associated caregivers and the patient, and providing data for the evaluation of the processes allowing for early intervention, thereby improving the level of care.