Happy Birthday Canada!

Happy 147th birthday Canada!  Canada Day We have a lot to be proud of as a country.  From the Canadian Pacific Railway to Universal Healthcare, Canadians from the past and present have truly made Canada one of the best places to live! iamsick.ca is launching a blog series highlighting some of the top travel destinations in Ontario.  When you’re these locations, keep the iamsick app handy just in case! To commemorate Canada Day, let’s start with Ottawa, the capital of Canada. Ottawa 1) Parliament Hill


House the offices of the members of Parliament, the House of Commons and the Senate. The perfect place to celebrate Canada Day with free concerts, fireworks and 25,000+ fellow Canadians.  Enter the Parliament Buildings for a free guided tours that delves into Canadian history and explains the workings of our political system. 2) Rideau Canal


One of the oldest landmarks in Ottawa, this canal is filled with boats in the summer and becomes the “World’s Longest Skating Rink” in the winter.  You can paddle the full 202 km length of the Rideau Canal from Lake Ontario [Kingston] to Ottawa River [Ottawa] through 45 locks, and in the winter you can skate the 7.8 km length of the Rideau Canal skateway from Carleton University (Hartwell Locks) to downtown Ottawa (Chateau Laurier), including Dow’s Lake in between.  Dow’s Lake is also home to an annual Ice Sculpture competition, and other Winterlude festivities.  You can also find warming stations, beavertails & hot chocolate along the length of the canal. 3) Peace Tower


The Peace Tower commemorates the end of World War I, and harbours the best view of Ottawa. Nearly 100 m tall, it is located in the front middle of the Center Block building of the Canadian Parliament.  Inside the Peace Tower is the Memorial Chamber and a Carillon. 4) National Museums & Galleries OttawaMuseums Ottawa is home to many National Museums & Galleries.  These include the Canadian Agriculture & Food Museum (aka Experimental Farm), the Canadian Aviation & Space Museum, the Canadian Museum of History, the Canadian Museum of Nature, the Canadian Science & Technology Museum, the Canadian War Museum, the National Gallery of Canada, the Royal Canadian Mint, and many local historical museums and galleries. Explore the collection of artifacts, unforgettable photos, art & knowledge that have shaped Canada into what it is today. 5) ByWard Market


Ottawa’s ByWard Market is a few blocks from Parliament Hill, and is one of Canada’s oldest and largest public markets.  You’ll find cafés, galleries, museums, specialty food shops, boutiques, restaurants, pubs, busking, and even the Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica.  It’s farmer’s market is open year-round, and offers fresh produce, flowers, baked goods and crafts.  With many outdoor patios & street performers busking, it is a great place to take a stroll while visiting Ottawa.   Ottawa Weather


The average July maximum temperature is 26.5 °C (80 °F), and the average January minimum temperature is −14.8 °C (5.4 °F). Winters can be very cold with temperatures dropping as low as −36 °C (−32.8 °F), while summers are warm and humid. Daytime temperatures of 30 °C (86 °F) or higher are commonplace. So, it’s important to bundle up to avoid frostbite and windburn in the winter, and to keep hydrated and slather on the sunscreen in the summer.  Don’t forget that you can use the iamsick.ca app to find the nearest open pharmacy to pick up sunscreen, drinks, mitts, and pocket handwarmers. Healthcare Providers Near the Attractions

1) James Street Medical Clinic

613-233-6240 58 James Street (near Bank St & Somerset St W) Ottawa , K2P 0T6 

2) Watson’s Pharmacy and Wellness Centre – Ottawa East

613-238-1881 192 Main Street (near Main St & Lees Ave – a few blocks from Rideau Canal) Ottawa , K1S 1C2  http://www.watsonspharma.com

3) Rexall – Sparks & Bank

613-238-1198 240 Sparks Street – Unit C-102 (on Sparks Street – 2 blocks from Parliament Hill) Ottawa , K1P 6Z9  http://www.rexall.ca

4) Bruyère Pharmacy

613-562-6308 75 Bruyere Street (near Sussex Drive & King Edward Avenue – next to Royal Canadian Mint) Ottawa , K1N 5C8 http://www.bruyere.org/bruyere-pharmacy

5) Ottawa Hospital – Civic Campus

613-761-5355 1053 Carling Avenue (near Carling Avenue & Parkdale Avenue – near Dow’s Lake & Experimental Farm ) Ottawa , K1Y 4E9  http://www.ottawahospital.on.ca/   To search for more healthcare providers near you, visit: iamsick.ca.


Is Your Sunscreen Protecting You?

Picking the right sunscreen is just as important as just using sunscreen.


Here are 5 tips to help you pick the right sunscreen:


1) SPF = sun protection factor, use sunscreens with at least SPF30

Dermatologists recommend using a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, which blocks 97% of the sun’s rays.


2) Higher the SPF, higher the protection against UVB

(culprit for the nasty sunburns you’ve had in the past).


3) Don’t be stingy! A lot of sunburns are caused by under application

(or forgetting to cover ALL exposed skin)!


4) Don’t be lazy! It’s okay to admit it; everybody sweats.

Yeah, the sweat dripping off your face is washing away the sunscreen.
Reapply sunscreen every two hours, even on cloudy days, and after swimming or sweating.


5) Expired milk leaves a nasty taste in your mouth,
just like how expired sunscreen leaves a nasty sunburn on your skin.

The amount of sun protection decreases overtime,
beware of the expiration date!

Stay safe while you enjoy the sunny summer weather!

Crowdfunding Recap


Thank you to everyone who was involved in our indiegogo crowdfunding campaign! Your interest in improving healthcare is the fuel that drives us to make iamsick.ca even better. Now that our crowdfunding campaign has come to an end, it is time for you to vote which province we should expand to next.

How to Vote


Backers should have already received an email with a link that takes them to a voting page for casting their vote. If you are a backer and haven’t received the email, please contact us at team@iamsick.ca. The voting period is between Monday June 16th 2014 to midnight Thursday June 19th 2014, and we’ll post a summary of the results after the voting period ends.

Backers who have selected a perk of more than $5 will receive another email with more information about their perk. We will also keep everyone updated on our progress as we grow iamsick.ca. Thank you for supporting iamsick.ca!

*Note: because we did not reach our goal of $9,000, we will require more time to expand our service to the next province. Thank you for your understanding.

Summary of Our Crowdfunding Campaign 

  •  91 backers pledged
  • Largest pledge is $150, with a lot of backers pledging $100
  • The most popular perk was the $1 Voter perk, followed by the $5 Supporter perk, and the $25 Canadiana cards and $35 iamsick.ca t-shirt perk were tied for third
  • We have gained a lot of interest from the media:

thestar         3 4            5 6                        7 mobile syrup

Thank you for your interest in iamsick.ca, together we can make healthcare accessible to anyone and everyone!


Outdoor Safety

Outdoor Safety



Now that Summer has finally come to Canada (woohoo!), it means Canadians can enjoy the weather outside and do activities that are closer to nature such as camping, gardening and visiting parks. However, humans aren’t the only ones who enjoy the warm weather; warm weather also attracts ticks, mosquitoes and fleas. When enjoying outdoor activities, one must be careful of bugs such as ticks, which can transmit lyme disease and other infections. A study conducted in Nova Scotia found that more children are contracting lyme related arthritis and that the majority of documented case came from the past two years. Lyme disease is on the rise in Canada, especially since ticks are found in six provinces in Canada and is continuously spreading into various neighbourhoods.

What Are Ticks?

Ticks are closely related to spiders, feed on blood, and come in contact with animals and people through tall grasses and small bushes. Ticks are very small in size when unfed, therefore often goes unnoticed by people. Tick bites are painless, but some are infectious and may result in lyme disease. It’s possible for Canadians to encounter ticks and lyme disease almost anywhere in Canada since ticks feed on migratory birds that transports it to other areas.


Symptoms of Lyme Disease

Early symptoms occur on average one to two weeks after a tick bite, but can occur as early as 3 days or as late as 1 month after the incident.

Some of the common symptoms include:

  • Fatigue, chills, fever, headache, muscle and joint aches
  • Skin rash that looks like a bullseye called erythema migrans
  • Facial or Bell’s palsy (loss of muscle tone on one or both sides of the face)
  • Neurological and sleep disturbances


A typical bullseye rash. 

Around 60% of patients who were untreated would develop lyme related arthritis with severe joint pain and and swelling in the large joints such as knees.

Consult a doctor right away if bitten by a tick or if you exhibit any of the above symptoms.


The most common treatments for lyme disease is oral antibiotics such as: doxycycline, amoxicillin, or cefuroxime axetil.

If the tick is attached to a person, it should be removed straight away using fine tipped tweezers. Grasp the tick as close to your skin as possible, and pull it out, gently but firmly. Thoroughly cleanse affected area with rubbing alcohol. You can bring the tick to your doctor or local healthcare providers to identify whether the tick is infected with lyme disease. Medical attention should be sought if any symptoms of early Lyme disease develop within 30 days of removal of the tick.


How to Avoid Ticks

  • Wear light-coloured clothes, long pants and a long sleeved shirt.
  • Wear closed footwear and socks.
  • Tuck your pants into your socks.
  • Use a tick repellent that has “DEET” (following the manufacturer’s directions for use).  Apply it to your skin and outer clothing.  Avoid your eyes and mouth, as well as cuts and scrapes.
  • Put a tick and flea collar on your pet and check them for ticks periodically.

Outdoor activities are enjoyable no matter if you’re with your family or friends. However, outdoor safety should not be ignore. Taking necessary precautions (e.g., downloading the iamsick.ca app when you travel) and knowing what healthcare options are available in the time of need will let you enjoy the Canada’s beautiful wilderness with peace of mind.

1045-image-1372300714      shutterstock_16098277-300x200


#HCSMCA Crowdfunding in Healthcare

Crowdfunding healthcare innovation

On June 11, iamsick.ca co-founder Ryan Doherty (@ryansdoherty / @iamsick_ca) will host a #hcsmca chat to discuss how crowdfunding can play a role in healthcare innovation.

What is #hcsmca?

  • #hcsmca is a community passionate about healthcare social innovations
  • hcsmca holds weekly tweet chats on Wednesdays at 1PM ET
  • anyone and everyone can join in the chat


A tweet chat about crowdfunding healthcare innovation? 

  • iamsick.ca aims to create awareness of the value that crowdfunding brings to healthcare innovation, hackathon teams, and healthcare startups


iamsick.ca’s crowdfunding campaign ( from our May 7th blog post on crowdfunding )

We normally think of crowdfunding to support a large scope of activities such as disaster relief, startup fundraising, film/music production, prototype development, or app development.  For iamsick.ca, our crowdfunding campaign is an opportunity to raise funds to cover the cost of expanding our free Ontario-wide healthcare wayfinding app to every corner of Canada.  However, it isn’t just about raising funds, we are also giving Canadians a voice.  Everyone who supports our campaign will receive a vote to decide “where next?” We are hoping to bring together Canadians passionate about improving healthcare to create a movement that will lead to more accessible and efficient healthcare for everyone.

iamsick.ca crowdfunding

Crowdfunding = Community Engagement 

  • crowdfunding is more than just a fundraising tool
  • crowdfunding allows healthcare innovators to engage the public (patients, physicians, organizations)
  • through our vote initiative, we give Canadians an opportunity to be involved in iamsick.ca’s growth (a vote to decide which province next)
  • crowdfunding can create an opportunity to give supporters a behind-the-scenes peek at healthcare app development
  • crowdfunding can create conversations and shine a spotlight on opportunities that organizations & policy makers may otherwise not notice



For the #hcsmca chat on June 11, 2014 at 1pm EST, we will discuss the following topics that explore crowdfunding to innovate healthcare:

T1: What is crowdfunding, and how is it different from traditional fundraising?

T2: Does crowdfunding help advance healthcare IT and innovation?  If so, how?

T3: What role does the social web and / or network engagement play in crowdfunding?



Canadian Sun Awareness Week


Summer has finally arrived! As most Canadians know, there is no better feeling than the sun on your skin. When you’re at the beach or doing other outdoor activities, it’s always good to take precautions with sunscreen.  In the case that someone gets sunburned, it’s just as important to know where the nearest pharmacy is to pick up a big bottle of suncare cream (there are many kinds: coco butter with vitamin E, aloe, etc – it is best to check with your local pharmacist for their recommendation)

Since this week is Canadian Sun Awareness week, lets look at some the benefits and negative effects of sun exposure.


Couple at Beach

  • main source of vitamin D3 (enhances calcium absorption)
  • enhances mood
  • reduces risk of seasonal affective disorder
  • kills pathogens

When people are exposed to sunlight early in the morning, melatonin synthesis occurs sooner, which helps fight against insomnia, premenstrual syndromes and seasonal affective disorder.



  • sunburn
  • premature ageing
  • suppressed immune system functioning
  • skin cancer

The Canadian Cancer Society recently published a report stating that skin cancer is one of the fastest growing cancer in Canada. To read the full report, click here.

Sun Safety Tip #1 

Check the UV index before going outside

wear protective clothing, sunglasses & sunscreen when the UV index is 3 (moderate) or higher

Sun Safety Tip #2 

Position matters

the sun’s rays are stronger closer to the equator and at higher altitudes

Sun Safety Tip #3 

Reduce sun exposure between 11am-4pm

the sun’s rays are strongest between 11am-4pm (when your shadow is shorter than you are)

Sun Safety Tip #4

UV-Ray exposure can occur through glass

untinted glass windows filter UVB rays, but not UVA rays

Sun Safety Tip #5

Wear a wide-brimmed hat

most cancers occur on the face and neck, so wear a hat and put sunscreen on your face, ears, chin and neck

Sun Safety Tip #6

Wear sunglasses

sunglasses that provide 100% UV protection can prevent eye damage; especially wraparound sunglasses

Sun Safety Tip #7

Wear water-resistant sunscreen while swimming & reapply, reapply, reapply

your skin can still be damaged by the sun’s rays under the water & some of the sunscreen will come off in the water and when you dry yourself off

Sun Safety Tip #8

Protect babies & children

keep babies out of direct sunlight & apply sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher on children at least 20min before they go outside


Knowing sun safety information, you can fully enjoy the sunshine and never have to worry about painful sunburns again (or their detrimental long-term effects).

In the case that you do get a sunburn, find the nearest pharmacy using iamsick.ca!

The more you know, the less you have to worry.



Language Barriers & Healthcare

The Problem

Screen Shot 2014-05-23 at 3.50.43 PM

Sarah Bowen, a professor at the University of Alberta and expert on healthcare for underserved populations believes that language is the primary factor preventing people from staying healthy. A longitudinal survey conducted by Statistics Canada tracked 12,000 newcomers between 2000-2001 asking about their state of health. After four years, the percentage of people with poor health jumped from seven percent to 17 percent. Also, from an insider perspective, Dr. Joel Ray, a Toronto obstetrician, also stated that the struggle to communicate with their patients is a constant struggle for medical practitioners across Canada. With immigration on the rise, the hidden costs of language barriers also goes up. (See below for the breakdown of recent immigrants to Canada by birthplace).



The Cost

One of the obvious costs of not being able to understand one’s doctor or nurse is the emotional strains placed on the patient and his or her family members. Young children, relatives and even coworkers are often asked to be translators, and this places incredible stress on the interpreters. Aside from emotional impact, there are also confidentiality and liability issues that affect both the practitioners and the patients. Not to mention, language barriers bear invisible costs for the government and taxpayers.  According to Bowen, medical practitioners of patients affected by language barriers tend to over-test or keep patients in hospitals longer than patients who do not experience language barriers.

Screen Shot 2014-05-23 at 3.50.57 PM

To counteract language barriers, a common solution is to hire interpreters or to use a phone-based interpreter service.  This is only a short term solution to a perpetual problem.  First of all, interpreter services are costly, so it may be difficult to hire interpreters for all healthcare visits. Aside from costs, regional differences and cultural sensitivity add layers to language translation. For example, at the 2014 University of Toronto IHI QuIPS conference, a physician described an incident where a South Korean interpreter was brought in to translate for a North Korean patient, which made things even more complicated.

The Solution

Without the cost for hiring interpreters, iamsick.ca tries to leverage awareness to help eliminate the language barrier between patients and healthcare providers. On our website, we have a language filter that allows users to easily search for healthcare providers that speak a specific language, whether it be Chinese, Russian, Arabic, Hindi and many more. Our website and smartphone app is also free, so we encourage you to check it out. With our indiegogo campaign, we also aim to translate our website and app into more languages to ensure that underserved population will have appropriate access to healthcare.

iamsick.ca crowdfunding

Are your friends and family covered? Together, we can help everyone in Canada access healthcare when, where & in whatever language they prefer.  Visit http://canada.iamsick.ca to see how you can help!

The Future

According to this chart, the most spoken languages in Canada (aside from English and French) are Chinese and German. Should we translate our website and app to Chinese and German next?  If not, what language should be prioritized?  Let us know in the comments below..

Screen Shot 2014-05-23 at 3.51.32 PM


iamsick.ca, Ontario & Open Data

What is Ontario’s Open Data?

We hear a lot about open data and its potential, but what is it?  Also, does Ontario have an open data strategy?  Why is that important, and how can Canadians benefit from such an initiative?

Recently, the Open Government Engagement Team consulted Ontarians, legislators, journalists, government staff and public servants about how to improve government engagement with the public.  As reported, there was an overwhelming positive response to open up government data so that it is more accessible to the public.  The concept of Open Data has been around for a while, and it is the process of making government collected data freely accessible by the general public.  Some members of the public analyze the data, creating charts, infographics to identify stories & trends.  Others leverage the data to create tools.  Sometimes those tools (ie. iamsick.ca) help improve the delivery of public services.OpenData-1 Ontario’s Open Data Goals

  • Complete: All data is published automatically, unless there are valid privacy, security or legal reasons not to do so.
  • Primary: Data is published with the most detail possible (i.e. not aggregated).
  • Timely: Data is published as quickly as possible after it is collected.
  • Accessible: Data is made available to the widest range of users for as many purposes as possible.
  • Non-discriminatory: Data is available to anyone and does not require registration for access.
  • Non-proprietary: Data is free and is available in formats that no one has exclusive control over.
  • Licence-free: Data is released under a licence that does not restrict its use (i.e. no copyrights or patents).

OpenData-2 Why is Open Data Important?

Open Data has the potential to change the way government works internally by promoting more transparent decision making and efficient use of public resources. The Open Engagement Team has recently consulted with the iamsick.ca team about making healthcare providers information more accessible to Ontarians. By disclosing healthcare provider information to the public, it would help social enterprises such as iamsick.ca create tools that will allow the government to improve and efficiently deliver healthcare services that cater to the needs of a diverse spectrum of Ontario residents. Tools that leverage open data can improve all sectors and levels of government, and Open Data has a huge potential for improving the lives of Ontarians. The best thing about Open Data is the creativity of the concepts, tools and analysis created with the data. Whether it’s a high school, student, journalist, scientist or entrepreneur, people will look at the data from different perspectives that may lead to great ideas or insight.  The way we see it is clear to us: making healthcare provider information public through open data initiatives will help bridge some of the gaps in the current healthcare system: awareness, access and appropriateness of care.

Ryan-presenting-to-OntarioMinistries2 iamsick.ca President & co-Founder, Ryan Doherty, explaining how Open Data could be leveraged to improve healthcare across Canada during an Open Data Day event for Ontario public servants.


iamsick.ca team meeting Ontario’s Open Engagement Team. 

Crowdfunding & Open Data

One of the main purposes of the open data initiative is to give the public a voice and increase knowledge of the decision making process within the government. The Ontario government aims to open data so the public can leverage the information and accomplish good. And, this is exactly what iamsick.ca does: we leverage government information to improve public service delivery.  Crowdfunding is a useful tool that can augment open data initiatives. It is a way to raise money, allowing free services like iamsick.ca to improve and expand. Our crowdfunding campaign on indiegogo takes it one step further, by giving the public a voice; anyone who pledges $1 or more will get a vote to decide which province we will expand our service to next.  Our campaign also includes perks, like Get Well cards and Canadiana cards from local artists and photographers, which help bring the community together to support our social enterprise.

Open Data & Social Good

Social enterprises like iamsick.ca can use open data to improve public services, build an engaged community of users, and bring public concerns to government awareness.

Be the change you want to see in Canadian healthcare, visit our indiegogo crowdfunding page and see how you can make a difference!


Happy Birthday 23rd Birthday WorldWideWeb – The best is yet to come!


Today, the World Wide Web turns 23 years old. The first web server was setup at CERN on May 17th 1991, and look what it has grown to become.

Millions of people around the world use the Internet on a daily basis. Many jobs and fields have come into existence only because of the public-facing World Wide Web.

This is the perfect example of how a concept can grow and change the way Humans live and interact.

More importantly, the World Wide Web has grown into something that is becoming a more important part of healthcare delivery. With patients seeking advice from “Dr Google”, or searching for others who share similar symptoms/illnesses. And, even making it easier for Doctors, Nurses, Pharmacists, and other healthcare providers to stay on top of the growing body of healthcare knowledge. The World Wide Web has also grown into a tool to help people remain aware on services available to them, to maintain an ongoing connection with healthcare providers/organizations, and ultimately making accessing healthcare easier.

I see the World Wide Web and related Internet/mobile technologies improving healthcare access & delivery beyond our wildest dreams. If it can leveraged in the right way, it can also hopefully improve efficient & appropriate access to healthcare, which could ultimately lower the overall cost of providing equitable healthcare for all.

Please support our Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign!

Take a look at our perks, be a “Hometown Hero”, pitch in, and help spread the word. We can’t do this alone!

Join our ongoing discussion:
What province would you like to see us in next?
What language should we translate our app to first?



– Ryan Doherty & the iamsick.ca team

Crowdfunding – Engaging the Community for Growth

What is crowdfunding?


We normally think of crowdfunding to support a large scope of activities such as disaster relief, startup fundraising, film/music production, prototype development, or app development. For iamsick.ca, our crowdfunding campaign is an opportunity to raise funds to cover the cost of expanding our free Ontario-wide healthcare locator app to every corner of Canada. However, it isn’t just about raising funds, we are also giving Canadians a voice. Everyone who supports our campaign will receive a vote to decide “where next?” We are hoping to bring together Canadians passionate about improving healthcare to create a movement that will lead to more accessible and efficient healthcare for everyone.

What is reward crowdfunding?


Iamsick.ca is an organization with a cause. We are passionate about bringing first-class healthcare to all Canadians. But to get your donation, we know we should provide something, let’s say a little more immediate, in return. That’s why we have chosen the reward crowdfunding campaign, because we want to acknowledge the support we receive with creative perks.

Everyone who pledges as little as $1 will get a vote to decide which province we expand to next. With $25, contributors can choose between receiving a set of Get Well cards or Canadiana cards designed by local artists especially for this campaign. Donate $35 and receive a custom iamsick.ca t-shirt. With $60, we will send you a cure-the-cold care package, which include an all-natural soup made especially for our campaign.



Custom Get Well & Canadiana card samples.

What are stretch goals?

These are goals set by campaign organizers that goal beyond the initial, official goal to raise more money to improve goods or services. In our campaign, the official goal is to raise $9,000 to expand the iamsick.ca app to a second province in July. Our first stretch goal is to raise $20,000 to expand the iamsick.ca service to two other provinces. Our ultimate goal is to raise $90,000 so we can grow Canada-wide by September.

stretch goal

Timeline of our crowdfunding campaign.

How you can help.

You want to help? Great! The easiest way you can help us create a better future for Canadian healthcare is by pledging. Every dollar can and will make a difference!

You can find out more about our campaign and how to support us by clicking this link: http://indiegogo.iamsick.ca

Word of mouth is the best way to get people involved. Aside from pledging, you can also share our campaign with friends, family, coworkers and help spread the word about our campaign. Lastly, it would also help if you download our free app onto your smartphone, visit the website and give feedback. We would love to hear about how we can improve the service to better serve you.

You can make an huge impact with just a click of a button. Let today be the day we revolutionize Canadian healthcare!