Alexandre Castonguay: optimizing the quality of care

Alexandre Castonguay: optimizing the quality of care

Happiness. This is what Alexandre Castonguay, a new professor at the Faculty of Nursing Sciences at the Université de Montréal, wanted to study when he began his academic career.

Over the years, this idea has been refined to lead to health. “I thought to myself that if I studied in a field related to health, I would contribute in one way or another to improving the human condition and to reducing the distress of people who live with particular conditions”, explains the professor, his gaze luminous.

Inhabited by this conviction, he first undertook 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.

He then carried his altruistic streak to a postdoctoral internship in nursing sciences at UQTR, where he designed mobile tools to help students and women suffering from gestational diabetes adopt and maintain healthy lifestyles. Then, he 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 renowned Professor Guy Paré, holder of the Connected Health Research Chair at HEC Montréal. This experience allows him to establish relationships with many renowned researchers while making use of all of his knowledge and areas of intervention. “Guy Paré allowed me to blossom as a researcher,” he says, acknowledging the central role that Mr. Paré 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 contributor to 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 to be made are immense, especially in a context where the population is aging and where the need for home care is growing. Nursing staff are called upon to devote a great deal of time and energy to travel and to administrative or documentation tasks, at the expense of time spent with patients,” he says.

In this regard, Mr. Castonguay recalls that information technologies offer several innovative solutions that have now become essential tools for managing patient appointments and medication, as well as staff travel. It is therefore the accessibility and quality of care that are improved, as well as the well-being of the staff, whose more mechanical tasks are carried out by automated systems.

“Digital health is not only important, it is necessary,” he says. The healthcare environment is already strongly influenced by information technologies and will continue to be. It is a dream come true to have the opportunity to prepare nursing students for this.”

This is, moreover, one of the mandates that Alexandre Castonguay has given himself in his new role as professor: to channel his commitments in research, teaching and at the faculty level to prepare the student population for the digital revolution in health, but also inspire the next generation of nurses of today and tomorrow.