Research and education are at the core of the healthcare sector, and for obvious reasons: Without research, innovation is impossible, and education enables distribution of the knowledge this research brings. Medical research and education are particularly critical to the success of the sector as they influence the way healthcare professionals diagnose, treat and care for patients with various injuries and ailments. When frontline workers can provide faster, better care, we all benefit — not just as individuals, but as entire communities.
There are a number of innovative healthcare organizations and research facilities here in Ontario including Brain- Fx, Octane and the LHEARN Centre. Here’s how each of these businesses is making a positive impact on research and education in healthcare right now.


Brain disorders can have a substantial effect on a patient’s cognitive and/or physical functioning, but it’s also easy for symptoms to be missed — particularly if an individual is in the mild to moderate stage of a disease. Doctors and family members can’t monitor a patient at all times, and traditional tests don’t always have the depth or sensitivity to paint a complete picture of a patient’s struggles. Knowing this, there was a gap in the market for better, more accurate cognitive testing related to Activities of Daily Living (ADLs).

BrainFx was founded by two occupational therapists, Tracy Milner and Heather Condello, who had nearly two decades of expertise in the neurorehabilitation of both children and adults. Their product is an interactive digital cognitive assessment tool that can help identify cognitive dysfunction while delivering unique insights. It involves monitoring sensory, physical and psychosocial skills while considering factors like sleep habits, nutrition, mood, medical history and more. BrainFx uses realistic, scenario-based functional testing that is more challenging for patients and ultimately, reveals more about their current abilities and condition. This user-friendly technology, which is being used by thousands of care providers worldwide, leads to targeted treatment plans tailored to individual patients.


Lakeridge Health Education & Resource Network (LHEARN) Centre is a part of Lakeridge Health, an organization based in Durham Region. Located in Oshawa, this state-of-the-art facility supports advanced clinical training, clinical research and education for new and experienced practitioners. Instruction is provided by an exceptional team of regulated healthcare professionals including physicians, and all certification programs involve the use of realistic, responsive medical mannequins in true-to-life simulation labs (picture infant, child and adult simulators that can be remotely controlled by instructors in order to present various medical challenges and simulate realistic human responses).
LHEARN uses cutting-edge equipment to simulate realistic patient care across a broad range of disciplines, including neonatal pediatric medicine, critical care and cardiovascular health. By utilizing real-world medical scenarios in their training exercises, LHEARN is able to offer courses and certificate programs that significantly improve patient care locally and across the province. Beyond enhancing treatment quality for individual patients, LHEARN programs support patient families and communities at large as they raise the overall standard of care. Given the ripple effect of each medical education course or training session, it’s nearly impossible to measure the impact of LHEARN — but the facility has arguably become invaluable to medical teams in the region.


Founded by Tim Smith and Ian Grant, Octane, a medical group of companies in Kingston, Ont., offers advanced bioprocesses, biomaterials and bioreactors for use within regenerative medicine. They provide complex solutions including tissue engineering for orthopedic repair, bioelectric stimulation, cocoon cell therapy for critical diseases and medical AI. Their vision is a world where regenerative medicine is the standard — essentially, care that leaves the patient truly better off than they started, rather than simply “fixing” an acute medical issue; their aim is not only to heal an injury but to significantly improve one’s quality of life. Striving to push the limits of medical science and achieve what was once considered impossible, Octane has collaborated with global leaders on innovative, game-changing biomedical applications
In addition to product development, Octane’s expertise includes process optimization, standards-based validation, clean room manufacturing and international regulatory support. With a team that includes research and development experts, business development leaders, scientists, engineers, process experts and more, Octane is making an impact on advanced healthcare in Ontario and around the globe.

Illustration Credit: iStock/Kittisak_Taramas; (photos) Courtesy of Lakeridge Health Foundation.

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