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WIHV takes innovative taxi app for a test drive

March 27, 2017

By Jennifer Lee

The Taxi cab appTaxi drivers are a group often at risk for complex chronic illness. Their jobs involve sitting for long stretches of time and working for extended and irregular hours – a set of lifestyle factors often found linked with conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, weight gain and chronic pain. Adding to the issue is stress and in some cases, a genetic predisposition to certain illnesses.

Mobile health apps are increasingly being used to help patients prevent and manage chronic illness, with features that help them to track and stay aware of factors that influence health. Yet far too often, these tools don’t address the unique needs of those at risk for specific diseases.

The Taxi cab app is a targeted mobile health solution being developed to bridge this gap. The app will aim to promote healthy habits, while countering those that are not, such as prolonged and uninterrupted sitting, stress and unhealthy eating habits.

Led by Dr. Danielle Martin, vice president,  medical affairs and health system solutions at Women’s College Hospital, Dr. Payal Agarwal, an innovation fellow and Husayn Marani, a research assistant at the WCH Institute for Health System Solutions and Virtual Care (WIHV), this will be a two-part study. WIHV has also partnered with the Wellesley Institute on this study, a leading Canadian think tank dedicated to advancing urban health and reducing health inequities. Telus Health will also contribute top health IT expertise on the project. 

At the moment, the group is currently collecting qualitative data and analyzing it to understand what some of the top health concerns are for drivers in the Greater Toronto Area. In the second phase, WIHV will put this research to the test, developing a customized app prototype, taking into account drivers’ specific needs and preferences in spring, 2017.

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