Canadian startups show off array of digital health tools

By Dave Muoio

A cadre of Canadian digital health startups were at the forefront of a special HIMSS session organized by the Canadian government’s department of foreign affairs, trade, and development.
Each of the six featured startups was a graduate of the Canadian Technology Accelerator for Health IT in Philadelphia, and tackled healthcare challenges ranging from medication adherence to inelegant data analysis.
First to take the stage was Robert Kaul, CEO, president, and founder of the Toronto-based cloud diagnostics and remote monitoring company Cloud DX. Alongside an explanation of his company’s platform, which includes both the software and hardware to enable guided telehealth video visits, he teased four additional products that will complement their offerings to better enable home monitoring. These include a wearable continuous vital sign monitor (set to launch in 2018); a connected pulse wave analysis device (launching 2018-2019); an AI-driven mobile app that diagnoses respiratory disease (launching 2019); and a combination otoscopic camera, lung function tester, and digital stethoscope (launching 2019-2020).
Next to present was Victor Lesau, CEO and cofounder of Vancouver-based medication adherence monitoring company CuePath. The company develops unobtrusive medication packaging and a paired mobile app that allow caretakers to ensure seniors are correctly taking their pills.
“Family members and care professionals receive weekly reports, daily updates, monthly updates, and SMS messages real-time if a patient fails to take a medication,” Lesau said. “We’ve worked with many patients, and we can see that we can increase medication adherence by 30 percent on average.”
Toronto-based Sensory Technologies looks to increase the capacity of human-driven home care. Instead of assigning a single highly trained specialist to each patient, VP of sales Andrew Matthews described a model in which technicians in the home report to a single coordinating specialist using connected technology — an approach that he said has so far led to a 90 percent reduction in long stay readmissions and cut costs for more than 8,000 patients.
Following Matthews were presentations from London, Ontario-based Pulse Infoframe and Waterloo, Ontario-based Mozzaz. The former builds software that captures and organizes health data to streamline clinical research and clinical workflows. The latter develops an app in which care teams can better coordinate to develop personalized care plans for patients with complex conditions, who can view and follow the plans via a simple consumer interface.
“That’s what we’re bringing to the table with our platform, personalized care plans on their devices, including their family members, social workers, care workers, clinicians — everybody connected in a contextual journey,” CEO Sammy Wahab said during his presentation. “We’ve built a clinical library of solutions over the last three years dealing with this complex segment, everything from [serious mental illness] to substance abuse, and we have large projects underway for each of these segments.”
The final startup of the session was Montreal-based 360Medlink, whose flagship product Tavie offers patient education, care coaching, and self-assessments of care. President and CEO Jean-Manassé Theagene explained that unlike similar apps, Tavie’s approach incorporates pre-recorded videos of humans that he said are more effective than simple text-based interfaces.
“To put it simply, it’s a unique offering where a patient can have access to this in any indication, in any language, and in any ethnicity,” Theagene said. “The [videos add] three main things: one, improving the care experience; two, increasing engagement; and, ultimately, improving the clinical outcomes.”