Great Things Come in Small Apps

I’m just going to break the fourth wall for a second here, but as a relatively short person I’ve been perpetually pelted with the phrase “Good things come in small packages”. As a kid, that made me believe that I was destined to be awesome… but as I got older, I saw it more as something I’d just say to validate my human condition.

However, I’m starting to rethink it again, as this theme of small but powerful has been exploding in the modern technological world. From immense amounts of memory storage compacted into tiny micro SD cards, to the rise of mini-tablets, to entire libraries of books stored into one portable e-reader, it seems like that one thing my mom keeps telling me stands stronger as a prophecy than it does as proverbial solace to my woes.

iamsick.ca – A Digitally Small Package

Ever had to do the app-deleting rounds when your phone’s memory gets maxed out?

With the average app size of 50MB, and with higher allowable app sizes for both iOS and Android, apps are just going to keep getting bigger – eating away at the very finite memory space on our mobile devices.

Did you know that the iamsick.ca app is only 3MB on Android and 4MB on iOS?

That’s equivalent to the size of about 2 snapchat videos!!  By taking up such insignificant space, our app isn’t a thorn to your memory capacity’s side, but will not hesitate to be your hero in your time of need. At less than 10% of the average app size of 50MB, a strange echo begins to sound. It’s a small package… so it must be a good thing, right?

Well, of course! iamsick.ca is good because it’s small… and, it’s more than just “good”. Together with its convenience, functionality, and purpose, iamsick.ca is a great thing in a small package.

Greatness Lies Within

Well, what does iamsick.ca do?

First, it’s an app that helps you access healthcare whenever and wherever you need it.

What exactly does this mean though?  Well, first and foremost, our app uses your geographical location (or address/place you enter) to immediately show all of your nearby healthcare options! With a click on one of the icons (shown below), you’re immediately directed to the address, contact information, and hours of operation of all services (including holiday hours, which are updated regularly!).

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iamsick.ca scanning for all nearby emergency rooms, pharmacies, family doctors, and walk-in clinics

You can also use our filter to find the exact type of healthcare service you’re looking for. Whether you need to rush to an urgent-care centre or find a family doctor accepting new patients, you can find exactly what you need in just a couple of taps!

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Our filter system for healthcare options

Our additional filters increase the specificity of your search to include more information about that healthcare providers or service, whether you’re searching after-hours and are looking for a pharmacy that is “currently open”, a clinic that is wheelchair accessible, a walk-in clinic with e-booking, or a family doctor accepting new patients.

On top of all of this, iamsick.ca also includes a language filter with over 80 languages spoken by healthcare providers!

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This user is filtering healthcare options so that only those with healthcare professionals who speak Nepalese displayed

In light of the current Syrian Refugee Crisis, iamsick.ca also implemented a newcomer initiative (as highlighted by Huffington Post and TechCrunch), and many Arabic-speaking healthcare providers are being added to our database. Additionally, the website and mobile apps are also translated into Arabic (along with French, Spanish, and Chinese).

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How the website looks like translated. Translation on the mobile application is automatically synced to your language settings!

I know what you’re thinking. “All this, packed into ONE application?!”

Yes. That’s right. Good things come in small packages, but Great things come in small apps.

Check it out for yourself on Android, iOS, and Blackberry.

 

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Sources:

http://www.ibtimes.com/heres-crazy-amount-cellular-data-snapchat-consumes-how-stop-it-1938313

How does your mobile app measure up to industry average?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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10 Health Hacks For Canada’s 149th Birthday & Canada Day Holiday Hours

Over here at iamsick.ca, we’re all about boosting and improving the health of our fellow Canadians.

For the Canada Day long weekend, we’ve collected holiday hours for healthcare services, so you can easily use the iamsick.ca website or iPhone, Android or BB10 app to see whether a pharmacy or clinic is open.

And, to celebrate Canada Day, we’ve created a list of 10 cool health hacks that celebrate and advance our daily marriage with our own health.  Here they are!

1 – Nappuccinos
What is this sorcery? Nap…puccinos? The last time I had coffee before taking a nap, I lay awake on my bed jittering uncontrollably for 40 minutes. But as with all techniques, effective execution is necessary for its success.

Time for a super quick (simplified) science lesson:Your body consumes molecules called adenosine triphosphate (ATP) to release energy, and produces adenosine molecules as a result. In the brain, adenosine can act as a central nervous system depressant, which makes us sleepy. The longer we stay awake, the more adenosine accumulates; when we sleep, the body replenishes ATP from the produced adenosine (a.k.a. rest). Caffeine keeps us awake because it essentially acts by blocking the effects of adenosine.In concept, napping and caffeine both do the same thing – they make us more awake by reducing the effects of adenosine. So it’s really no surprise that the two paired together are an effective strategy to potentiate naps. You see, caffeine takes about 20 minutes to kick in – so if you consume a cup of coffee and immediately take a quick power nap, you wake up with a wonderfully compounded wakefulness!

2 – Train your brain! (with music)
Music is such an intrinsic and natural component of life. Everywhere from the rustle of the leaves to the whispers of the wind, melodies arise and caress our ears. But we usually don’t pay much attention to what this could actually be doing for us. Music is actually shown to exert many benefits on our health that are worth learning about:
– Music, as a distraction element, can effectively reduce the perception of pain, and improve performance during physical activity.
– Music has a huge impact on mental health, being shown to help combat depression, relieve stress, and just to elevate moods in general.
– Music (especially when playing music) is shown to boost neuroplasticity and cognitive performance.
So why not try exploring some new genres or types of music this Canada Day? Taking care of mental health is equally if not more important than physical health, and music is a very easy way to do it.

3 – Download our app!
Sometimes health might escape us. But that’s okay. The most important thing to do when we fall is to get up. And we can help you with that. Remember to download iamsick.ca app on Android, iOS, or Blackberry (or just use the web app). Our app is tiny in size and big in impact, so you won’t need to worry about it taking up your precious smartphone storage space while also having it ready to help you when you least expect it.  You can do all sorts of things with our app.. like check where the nearest walk-in clinic is, book your doctor’s appointment online, find doctors accepting new patients (including clinics with doctors that let you book appointments online), look for diagnostic labs, and even see real-time wait times for walk-ins that use our virtual waiting room service! What’s even better is that for the upcoming Canada Day long weekend, we’ll display updated holiday hours.. so you can access healthcare when & where you need it. Even if you just need to pick up some sunscreen at a local pharmacy, we’ll help you protect your skin! Our service is especially useful to keep those on great Canadian road trips healthy.. if you’re visiting a new place, you can rely on use to ensure that your nearest healthcare options are just a couple of taps away if anything (hopefully not) happens.

4 – Ditch the whiskers
Allergy season got you down under the weather? Rocking a sick moustache? Well… it’s time to make a decision. It turns out that moustache hair is very good at trapping pollen and other airborne allergens (like pollen grains) that trigger seasonal allergies. A very easy and quick fix to this without having to take those drowsiness-inducing antihistamines would be to…ditch the whiskers and shave that ‘stache. Alternatively, as hygiene is ALWAYS important, making sure to clean your facial hair regularly throughout the day could achieve a similar effect.

5 – Offer to dog sit
Ever heard of dog therapy? It turns out that having dogs as company has great therapeutic effects. Playing with a dog can increase levels of the stress-suppressing hormone oxytocin, while simultaneously lowering your body’s production of the stress hormone, cortisol. Other benefits include lowering blood pressure, increasing
post-heart-attack lifespans, and a general increased happiness. So… if your neighbours are planning a road trip for the Canada Day weekend but can’t take their dog with them… why not be a  benevolent member of the community and pick up on some dog-sitting with a side of mental therapy?

6 – Hypothermia
Okay, this one’s even weirder than the nappuccino tip. Hypothermia? And the summer? Compromised heat regulation…in the heat of the summer? It just doesn’t make sense… Well, as it turns out, the CDC has found that there’s been an alarming number of deaths occurring due to hypothermia… in June.Why? Well, the answer is simple, really. People are unprepared. In the winter, everybody likes to bundle up with layers upon layers upon layers. But in the summer, it’s very common for people to go for a dip in the lake at the cottage (even at night), and just walk around in swim-clothes, unaware that their body heat may be declining rapidly. The tip here, is to stay prepared. Towels and light extra layers are key, especially if you’re planning on getting wet!

7 – Apply cold (tea) to area of burnThis tip is super useful for the summer. If you find yourself sunburned in the hot summer sun (you should be putting on sunscreen to prevent this in the first place), or brushed against some poison ivy, or bitten by mosquitoes, you can use TEA as a remedy! The many natural organic compounds in tea have many powerful therapeutic effects. Black tea applied to sunburns can speed recovery. Anti-inflammatory agents in chamomile tea can reduce irritation from poison ivy and bug bites. Biting into tea bags can also be used to relieve cold sores! Check out this article on Greatist.com for more information about the amazing benefits of tea: http://greatist.com/health/treat-sunburns-tea-and-other-tips

8 – Sniff some fruits and flowers
Having a bad day? Headache’s got you down? Can’t sleep? Mother nature’s full of solutions – and they’re easier to access than you think. Studies have found that odorous molecules released by oranges can relieve anxiety and boost mood, the scent of green apples can reduce the magnitude of pain perception in some individuals, and the scent of lavender oil has soothing effects that can facilitate the sleeping process. I guess whoever said that you need to take time to “step back and smell the roses” was on to something… 

9 – Exercise with your immune system!
People are always nagging you to do exercise because “it’s good for you”, but often don’t really offer much more information beyond that. So how do you actually know it’s good? Well… it goes deeper than “it boosts your metabolism” or “it makes you feel good”. It turns out that when you regularly do exercise, you are concurrently training your immune system (that part of your body that defends against illnesses and infections) to be stronger. Ever heard of a white blood cell? Well, there are several types of these, and two of them are directly impacted by your levels of exercise.Natural Killer Cells (NK Cells) are the virus and cancer-killing white blood cells. Your body is constantly producing “busted” cells that have the chance of developing into cancers… but the reason why everyone doesn’t have cancer is that their NK cells are there to destroy the bad cells before they can do damage. Macrophages (a.k.a. “big-eaters”), are another member of your body’s general immune defense, and literally eat up illness-inducing pathogens that may enter your system. Doing exercise has been found to boost the number of NK cells AND making them more powerful, while also making macrophages more responsive to your body’s chemical signals, and more capable of destroying unwanted invaders. Exercise, then, not only makes you stronger, but makes you more resistant to disease and keeps you healthier for longer!So…yeah. Next time someone tells you that “exercise is good for you”, make sure THEY know why too.

10 – Tune your mind to your body
Have you ever just looked at your hands and marvelled at how, with barely a thought, you can make your fingers move exactly how you want? Have you ever sat down and just wondered how all the multiple molecular intricacies in your body dance together to create the fully functioning organism that is you? So many of us simply take our bodies for granted, without realizing how amazing this complex vessel we are born with and grow with for our entire lives really is. Cited in multiple realms with different names, such as “mind-muscle connection” in weightlifting, “zen” in Buddhism, or “mindfulness” in colloquial terms, establishing a connection between your mind and your body is a topic of increasing importance. This mindfulness allows for the defusing of stress, a momentary reset, and just feeling more in tune with yourself as a person. Check out these 5 bonus health tips to get started on your journey to become more mindful in your everyday environment: http://www.mindful.org/5-tips-for-practicing-mindfulness-at-the-office/

Happy Canada Day everybody!!!  We hope these health hacks are useful to help you live happier every day.

Love,

The iamsick.ca Team

Sources

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16453980

http://greatist.com/happiness/unexpected-health-benefits-music

http://www.bodyandsoul.com.au/news-story/0937a947dbc07abd0ca0e643adf44e85

http://www.bodyandsoul.com.au/health/health-advice/nine-weird-health-tips-that-work/news-story/0937a947dbc07abd0ca0e643adf44e85

http://animalsmart.org/species/dogs/dogs-help-reduce-stress

http://www.theactivetimes.com/summer-hypothermia-4-tips-preventing-unexpected

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16095639

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2008/01/02/green-apple-scent.aspx

http://europepmc.org/abstract/med/9129266

http://www.nature.com/icb/journal/v78/n5/full/icb200075a.html

http://www.helpguide.org/harvard/benefits-of-mindfulness.htm

When Food Bites Back

It’s a beautiful May day. The sky’s a deep pregnant blue, the sun smiling bright and true. The flowers, they flourish and dance in the wind, flashing colours of every hue.

After a long day you’re headed to a friend’s place to relax and bask in the lazy spring air. They offer you fresh-baked cookies –  your greatest gastronomical weakness! Your heart compels you to accept. As you bite into the warm, soft, center, molten chocolate oozes into your mouth. Crunchy on the outside, chewy on the inside, the flavour is mind-blowing. What a beautiful May day.

Moments later, at the back of your throat, a malignant itch erupts. It spreads to your tongue and your throat. A seeping sense of illness spreads throughout your body. Cold sweat bursts along your forehead. You feel weak. You tremble. You fall. What’s happening? What do you do?

May day. Mayday. M’aider.

Food Allergy Awareness Month (FAAM)

May is Food Allergy Awareness Month.  A month that recognizes the need to create a safe environment surrounding the activity we all must do to survive: eat.

With symptoms varying from a mild itch, to hives, or even death… all food allergies and anaphylaxis must be treated seriously.

Food allergies and anaphylaxis currently affect 1 in 13 Canadians, representing approximately 3 MILLION people. That’s even more than all the people in Toronto!

Moreover, researchers at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre are finding that the rate of food allergies among Canadians is increasing. Equally alarming is the apparent lack of awareness, where almost 50% of anaphylaxis victims do not receive a dose of life-saving epinephrine prior to entering the emergency department, rendering treatment more difficult.

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The increasing population at risk and the lack of awareness indicates that it’s important for us to spread knowledge and understanding about food allergies (and substance sensitivities in general)!

How iamsick.ca is Allergy Aware

If you have a food allergy, you’re not alone!  Many members of the iamsick.ca team are affected by food allergies too! From peanuts to eggplants, chickpeas to lychees, and even bananas to watermelons, we’ve (unfortunately) got it all… It’s really no question that we’d want to participate in FAAM!

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Unsure how to embark on the journey to awareness?

iamsick.ca has you covered:

  • If you or any of your family members have experienced discomfort while eating a food and think it may be food allergy, please visit an allergist! Allergists need referrals, so use the iamsick.ca website or app to book an appointment with your family doctor or find the nearest walk-in clinic to get your referral now!
  • Need a fresh or refilled autoinjector? You can also use iamsick.ca to locate the closest pharmacy. Even if you need to find one in the middle of the night, iamsick.ca will show the nearest open pharmacy!
  • In the (unlikely) event that you’re transporting someone with an allergic reaction requiring emergency medical attention, you can use iamsick.ca to find the exact location of the emergency department of nearby hospitals so treatment may be received ASAP!

How Else Can You Help?

There are plenty of things you can do to raise awareness about food allergy:

  • Learn how and when to use an epinephrine auto-injector
  • Make sure you always ask someone about food allergies before serving them food
  • Make a donation to Food Allergy Canada
  • Try baking some allergy-friendly cookies
  • Talk to your friends and share what you know
  • Anything else that would help spread awareness of food allergies!

A Reminder About the Upcoming May Long Weekend

Victoria Day is coming up (May 23rd), which means that it’s a long weekend to celebrate with family and friends! It also means that many healthcare service providers will have reduced hours of operation. If you need to access healthcare services this upcoming long weekend, or you’d like to check the holiday hours of a nearby local pharmacy or clinic, make sure to check out iamsick.ca!

Sources:

http://www.allergen-nce.ca/wp-content/uploads/SPAACE_prevalence_data.pdf

https://www.mcgill.ca/newsroom/channels/news/increasing-cases-anaphylaxis-among-children-260563

 

 

Healthcare Innovation in Canada: 2015 Advisory Panel on Healthcare Innovation Report

The Advisory Panel on Healthcare Innovation was created in 2014 to identify areas of growth in Canadian health innovation. Formed by the Canadian Minister of Health, the panel was tasked to:

  1. Identify the five most promising areas of innovation in Canada and internationally that have the potential to sustainably reduce growth in health spending while leading to improvements in the quality and accessibility of care.
  2. Recommend the five ways the federal government could support innovation in the areas identified above.

This year, the panel, led by chair Dr. David Naylor, published Unleashing Innovation: Excellent Healthcare for Canada. The panel reached out to Canadians and industry representatives, and conducted extensive research in order to best understand the current Canadian healthcare innovation landscape. In the report, the panel identified five critical areas in Canadian healthcare innovation:

  • patient engagement and empowerment
  • health systems integration with workforce modernization
  • technological transformation via digital health and precision medicine
  • better value from procurement, reimbursement and regulation
  • industry as an economic driver and innovation catalyst.

More importantly, the report recommended a new model for encouraging health innovation. Such a model encompasses a wide-angled view of healthcare innovation, rather than a series of small, quick-fixes that do not speak to the overall healthcare innovation landscape. The panel specified two enabling actions:

1. Creating a the Healthcare Innovation Agency of Canada (HIAC)

Should the agency be created, the HIAC will be an arms-length organization supported by the Healthcare Innovation Fund. The agency will support national collaboration across pan-Canadian organizations. In particular,  the Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement, the Canadian Patient Safety Institute, and the Canada Health Infoway will be included in HIAC.

2. Establishing the Healthcare Innovation Fund

The Healthcare Innovation Fund’s general goals are to “support high-impact initiatives proposed by governments and stakeholders; break down structural barriers to change; and accelerate the spread and scale-up of promising innovations”. Rather than a formulaic allocation of funds, the Healthcare Innovation Fund will be allocated based on transparent specifications, measurable healthcare outcomes, and economic and social value.

iamsick.ca is pleased to see the efforts being made to promote and encourage healthcare innovation in Canada. Improving healthcare outcomes and fostering innovation is at the core of iamsick.ca’s work. In particular, we are encouraged to see the spirit of collaboration and partnership embodied throughout the report. We look forward to seeing new developments and measurable changes as the federal government moves forward with these recommendations.

Sources:

Report of the Advisory Panel on Healthcare Innovation, Government of Canada (2015)
Advisory Panel on Healthcare Innovation, Health Canada
HealthCareCAN talks to Dr. David Naylor, Chair of the Advisory Panel on Healthcare Innovation, HealthCareCAN (2015)

The need to e-Book

Digital health solutions provide us with numerous benefits.

Recently, Canada Health Infoway explored how digital health solutions can improve healthcare, including e-visits and the ability to view test results online. What’s most interesting to us is their take on e-booking, and the benefits that it offers to patients and healthcare providers.

According to their white paper published in 2014, Infoway found that e-booking was ranked as one of the top three most useful consumer health products.  Some of the potential benefits of e-booking include:

  1. Time and cost savings
  2. Reduced no shows
  3. Improved healthcare access
  4. Improved patient satisfaction
  5. Improved staff satisfaction.

Simply put, using e-booking can help clinicians run a more efficient practice. More importantly, e-booking allows patients to take control of their health by giving them tools to connect with healthcare providers, when and where they need it.

iamsick.ca’s e-Booking Platform

Most clinic software, referred to as electronic medical record (EMR) software, do not offer the ability for patients to book appointments online.  That’s why we designed and built an e-booking platform that can integrate with existing clinic software.  In the future, if EMR software companies offer their own e-boking service, our system can complement their service to offer patients choice and additional functionality; like our virtual waiting room, healthcare system wayfinding, and other services that we’re building.

iamsick.ca offers three different types of e-booking services:

The first is our integrated e-booking platform. This platform integrates with existing scheduling module of EMR software to create a seamless workflow. Appointments made on iamsick.ca will automatically sync with the clinic’s calendar.

The second service is a stand-alone e-booking service that lets patients book appointments online without EMR software integration.

The third service is an appointment e-request service that lets patients request appointments online, and allows for a level of interaction between the patient and clinic staff to help find the best time for an appointment.

Are you a patient who is itching to booking appointments online?  If you have a doctor who doesn’t yet offer e-booking, please visit book.iamsick.ca and fill out the form at the bottom of the page to let us know your doctor’s contact information. We will follow-up with your doctor to let them know about the benefits of iamsick.ca e-booking at their clinic.

If don’t have a family doctor and want to book appointments online, you can also use iamsick.ca to search for family doctors accepting new patients.  And, some of these family doctors, as well as some primary care walk-in clinics, accept online appointment booking using iamsick.ca.

Are you a healthcare provider who wants to improve the patient experience in your clinic? Contact partners[at]iamsick.ca to schedule a demo and learn more about how the iamsick.ca e-booking platform can help you.

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Best March Break Activities, according to iamsick.ca

March Break is just around the corner in Ontario. As families gear up for a week of play and rest, it’s important to be ready for anything. We know that things happen. Just watch this video – you will know what we mean.

To mark the occasion, our team is sharing some of our favourite March Break activities from our childhood. To add a little bit of iamsick.ca flair, we’re also listing some health services in the area, just in case. Don’t forget to check our website and apps for hours of operation and address.

1. Skiing

Erin’s March Break pick was skiing. Growing up, she visited Mont-Tremblant in Quebec. Crystal also spent some March Breaks skiing in the Rocky Mountains. For a skiing destination closer to our hometown Toronto, there is always Blue Mountain, near Collingwood, Ontario.

Emergency Room: Collingwood Medical & Marine Hospital Hospital
Pharmacy: Collingwood Health Centre Pharmacy

2. Road trips out of the city

Ryan enjoyed visiting Hilton Falls in the Halton region. The video posted above was filmed there!

Emergency Room: Milton District Hospital
Pharmacy: Campbellville Pharmacy (by Hilton Falls)
Walk-in Clinic: Milton Urgent Care and Family Practice

3. Niagara Falls

Who can forget the Niagara Falls? Justin likes watching the falls, and visiting Niagara-On-The-Lake. There is always plenty to do in the area, from riding the ferry to visiting the Clifton Hill.

Emergency Room: Greater Niagara General Hospital
Pharmacy: Pharmachoice – Niagara Urgent Care Pharmacy
Walk-in Clinic: Morrison Street Walk-in Clinic

4. Toronto Waterfront 

Da likes biking on the Toronto waterfront. What’s better than enjoying the skyline and the lake? You can always drop by the Harbourfront Centre and see what activities they have there.

Emergency Room: St. Michael’s Hospital
Pharmacy: Pharmasave – Harbourfront Pharmacy
Walk-in Clinic: Waterfront Medical Centre

5. Ontario Science Centre 

Francis’ favourite spot was the Ontario Science Centre. Who says you can’t keep learning over March Break? Their current special exhibition is about the brain!

Emergency Room: Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
Pharmacy: Shoppers Drug Mart – Flemingdon Park Plaza
Walk-in Clinic: Don Mills Medical Clinic

Everyone here wishes you all a safe and happy March Break!