The SmarT Innovations for Technology Connected Health (STITCH) research cluster aims to address critical chronic health challenges by creating and investigating innovative wearable and stretchable systems that collect personalized information about our bodies and physical environments.
These intelligent interfaces serve as a second digital skin, capturing, evaluating, and communicating useful information to improve and personalize well-being, lifestyle, and health care outcomes related to a range of chronic and acute medical conditions.
STITCH is a network that facilitates the collaboration of researchers, healthcare professionals and industry to identify and provide solutions for healthcare needs for chronic conditions. The research areas of STITCH are focused on identifying healthcare needs, designing unobtrusive technologies, developing functional materials and integrating effective data analytics.
The STITCH research cluster began developing in 2016. STITCH was then formally introduced as an emerging cluster at the University of British Columbia in 2017.
Costly chronic care needs are growing and exerting considerable demand on health systems – innovation is required. Chronic, preventable disease and lifestyle-related health disorders are on the rise worldwide. An ageing population and changes in societal and personal lifestyle behaviour of younger generations are contributing to a steady increase in many common and costly long-term health problems.
The increasingly sedentary lifestyle is pushing obesity rates and cases of chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and cancer upward. The prevalence of chronic disease is expected to continually rise, imposing an unsustainable economic burden and reducing the quality of life.
The overall approach for the STITCH cluster is to develop a second digital skin (apparel, patches or implantable) to extend the reach of care for accurate and personalized monitoring of chronic conditions.
This will be accomplished by:
- Identifying and simplifying a healthcare need for chronic conditions into core components.
- Establishing early collaboration between key organizations and leaders from academia, healthcare, government and industry to develop innovative and effective solutions for the need.
- Continuing communication within the STITCH network to discover available resources and expertise.