Canadian Military Healthcare Consortium Taps Analytics for More Comprehensive Research

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Canada is the second largest country by land mass worldwide and is home to a significant military population: more than 60,000 serving members in the Canadian Armed Forces, 20,000 serving members in the Primary Reserve Forces, and more than 700,000 Veterans.

The Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research (CIMVHR) is a consortium of 42 Canadian universities dedicated to researching the health needs of military personnel, Veterans and their families. We exist to develop research that will impact the health and well-being of military personnel, Veterans, and their families in Canada.

Military personnel, Veterans and their families can face unique short and long term health risks that require different approaches to prevention and care. These include chronic pain, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other mental health issues.

CIMVHR researchers have begun the important work of understanding how Veterans and military families use healthcare, and how their health needs and service access patterns are different from the general population. Enhanced modern data analytics capabilities are critical to enable healthcare professionals and researchers to study related disorders, treatment and their outcomes nationally.

Researchers, published in the Journal of Military, Veteran, and Family Health, have already found that, in Ontario:

  • Canadian Veterans diagnosed with a mental health condition, are at a greater risk of all six chronic health conditions: musculoskeletal, respiratory, gastrointestinal, pain, cardiovascular conditions and diabetes.
  • The likelihood of pain and musculoskeletal conditions is greater for Veterans who were deployed outside of Canada for a period greater than 30 days.
  • More so than any other determinant, obesity among Canadian Veterans showed a strong association to the greatest number of chronic health conditions.

Military support organizations like CIMVHR are not able to fulfill their mandate without a continued link to national healthcare data trends and the ability to quickly synthesize and make sense out of the data. The quality of life for Canada’s military, Veterans and their families could be negatively impacted without this essential insight.

We’re working hard to make this forecast brighter. Today, at our annual conference in Vancouver, CIMVHR is announcing a new collaboration with Babcock Canada and IBM Canada , who will provide the data infrastructure to enable better consolidated, accessible national data and analytics capabilities to help drive healthcare research focussed on Canadian military, veterans and their families.

Through this new CIMVHR Advanced Analytics initiative, CIMVHR will be better able to quickly identify healthcare gaps through improved access, consolidation, generation and analysis of data relevant to Canadian military, Veteran, and family health.

The initiative will provide new resources and related IBM analytics capabilities to help CIMVHR identify and execute several, 24-month research projects in areas such as operational stress injury or other healthcare research imperatives that can benefit from access to IBM’s cognitive, big data analytics tools and related expertise. These will be determined by CIMVHR and its stakeholders.

The endeavour supports wider research engagement on this imperative between CIMVHR researchers, healthcare organizations, government, academia and industry including small and medium sized business in Canada.

With better access to data through modern tools and technology expertise, we will lay the foundation for new discoveries, together with our partners Babcock and IBM, to better support military, Veteran, and family health research in Canada.

Co-Scientific Director, CIMVHR

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