Health Tech Innovation Hub launched in Surrey

SURREY — From surgical training apps to airbags for wheelchairs, the Health Tech Innovation Hub lived up to its name during the official launch on Friday.

CEO and former mayor Dianne Watts cut the ribbon to officially open the hub, situated across from Surrey Memorial Hospital, making it the latest venture to join Innovation Boulevard.

“Today is an important step forward in the evolution of medical research and patient care in British Columbia,” said Watts. “We see this building as a clear advancement in the desire to achieve patient-centred solutions by bringing together all facets of the medical community.”

The hub is home to medical experts and entrepreneurs in the health tech field, and its goal is to provide opportunities for inventors, entrepreneurs and companies to work and practise alongside healthcare providers and clinicians.

health tech innovation boulevard
Angela Robert, CEO of Conquer Mobile, shows off the PeriopSim, the company’s app that teaches surgical skills. (Photo: AMY REID)

One such business is Conquer Mobile, which is developing first-of-its-kind technology in advanced simulation-based training. Another company, Health Tech Connex, is leading the way in the development of brain diagnostic and monitoring technologies. The city says the foundation is engaged in talks with 43 companies, including three multi-national operations.

Dr. Ryan D’Arcy, head of Health Sciences and Innovation at Surrey Memorial Hospital and co-chair of Innovation Boulevard, spoke at the hub’s opening and said it will mean “we can touch lives now.”

“You’re sitting right beside one of the busiest hospitals in the country. The front lines of this hospital face real-life, heavy duty problems every day. And they need help,” he continued. “They need our brightest minds and they need our best businesses where they’re agile and nimble and can create solutions. And they need it as fast as we can possibly get it.”

D’Arcy said he has seen the technologies make a difference.

“We can take a very, very severe brain injury, sad, sad cases, devastating cases where the family is put into a literal tailspin and tell the world that they’re in there, and that that person can go home and have Thanksgiving with their family because of the technologies you’re seeing right here,” said D’Arcy.

“(The technologies are) all coming from here, but they’re all coming to make an immediate impact to give the health-care provider and the person receiving health care a much, much better chance.”

Amrik Virk, Surrey-Tynehead MLA and Minister of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services, attended the event and said 84,000 people owe their livelihood to technology in the province. He added it results in $23 billion dollars of revenue for B.C.

“Research creates innovation creates commercialization which creates jobs,” said Virk. “You’re having a problem? Let’s solve the problem, let’s get the technology, let’s own the IT, let’s find the investors and from the investors let’s sell the idea and create jobs. And that’s what I see here in Surrey.

"When we think technology, I want British Columbians and Canadians to think Surrey. This is not something that happens in Yaletown…. It happens right here in our backyard.”

Innovation Boulevard was founded by the City of Surrey, SFU and Surrey Memorial Hospital with the goal of creating new health technologies to improve patient care and to provide access to state-of-the-art equipment. Its current focuses are medical technologies, independent living technologies and digital health technologies.

health tech innovation

Watts, who has announced her intentions to seek the Conservative MP nomination in South Surrey-White Rock, said when the election is called she will step aside from her “exciting” new job.

The hub is located in City Centre 1, a new development across from Surrey Memorial Hospital, at 13737 96th Ave. For more information visit Htifoundation.com.

areid@thenownewspaper.com

With a file from Tom Zytaruk

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