Happiness. That’s what Alexandre Castonguay, a new professor at the Faculty of Nursing at the University of Montreal, wanted to study when she began her academic career.
Over the years, this idea has been refined to lead to health. “I thought that if I studied in a field related to health, I would contribute in one way or another to improving the human condition and reducing the suffering of people living with certain conditions,” explains the professor with a bright look.
Inhabited by this conviction, he first obtained a bachelor’s degree in psychology at UdeM, then a doctorate in the same discipline at the University of Quebec at Trois-Rivières (UQTR). He then became interested in the motivational factors that influence the practice of physical activity in people with type 2 diabetes.
She then took her altruistic streak to a postdoctoral nursing internship at UQTR, where she designed mobile tools to help students and women with gestational diabetes adopt and maintain healthy lifestyles. He then obtained a position at the National Institute of Public Health of Quebec to work on cognitive health and aging from a prevention perspective.
Finally, he completed a second postdoctoral fellowship, this time with the renowned Professor Guy Pare, holding the Chair of Allied Health Studies at HEC Montréal. This experience allows him to establish connections with many famous researchers, while using all his knowledge and areas of intervention. “Guy Pare allowed me to blossom as a researcher,” he says, acknowledging the central role Mr. Pare played in his professional development.
All the pieces of his puzzle come together: his need to be useful to society, his interest in technology and his desire to contribute to the health and well-being of the population.
On the road to digital health
Alexandre Castonguay presents himself today as a proud participant in the promotion of digital health at the Faculty of Nursing at UdeM. He is interested in the role of digital technologies, including telemedicine, patient portals, robotics and artificial intelligence in optimizing the quality, continuity and efficiency of healthcare.
“In addition to my concern for people’s quality of life, I hate waste. And digital tools make it possible to optimize resources. Nursing is an area where the gains that can be made are huge, especially in a context where the population is aging and the need for home care is increasing. Medical staff are called upon to spend a lot of time and energy on travel and on administrative or documentation tasks, at the expense of time spent with patients,” he says.
In this regard, Mr. Castonguay recalled that information technology offers several innovative solutions that have now become essential tools for managing patient appointments and medications, as well as staff travel. This improves the accessibility and quality of care, as well as the well-being of staff whose more mechanical tasks are performed by automated systems.
“Digital health is not only important, it’s necessary,” he says. The healthcare environment is already heavily influenced by information technology and will continue to be. It’s a dream come true to be able to prepare nursing students for this.”
Moreover, this is one of the mandates that Alexandre Castonguay has given himself in his new role as professor: to direct his research, teaching and faculty commitments to prepare the student population for the digital revolution in health, but also to inspire the next generation of nurses today and tomorrow.