Release Notes, October 2021

Vaccine Inventory Management 2.0, Advanced Email Reminders, MyVaccines.ca Launch and More!

Welcome to the first issue of EMPOWER Health’s monthly Release Notes. This month, we have several new features to share, along with some exciting news for healthcare organizations. (MyVaccines.ca Launched September 1st with more features added monthly!)

Vaccine Inventory Management 2.0

One of the challenges our pharmacy clients encountered last year with Flu and COVID-19 vaccinations was limited supply.  Normally, booking logic for online appointment booking tools take into account time and practitioner availability.  But many of them had to limit the number of appointments they could take due to limited inventory and had to do this manually.  

The advancement of our inventory management now directly ties it into our online booking system and can not only display your ability to deliver vaccines on our locator, but limit the number of bookings based on your supply automatically.  

We’ve also tied the data into our waitlist management system. If you have no more vaccine inventory, the patients can go on your waitlist. If you have new stock, it can automatically trigger notices to patients on the waitlist about new availability. 

All of these enhancements are designed to reduce the amount of manual time required to manage vaccination appointments by putting real time information in the hands of the patients. 

As a helpful addition, we’ve also included online resources and information about vaccines and vaccine preventable diseases – available to both patients and practitioners. Some of these resources include the CARD system, a vaccine hesitancy support guide for patients and practitioners.

New Online Booking Features

New online appointment booking features make it easier for healthcare professionals to customize the booking process to fit the unique needs of their organization. Now, EMPOWER Health users can easily add customizable checkboxes and fields to online appointment booking pages and processes, such as for pre-booking, on-booking and post-booking.

Healthcare professionals have the ability to add a “who are you booking for” field on the booking page so users can book appointments for others. This is useful for a caregiver booking an appointment for a companion or a caretaker booking an appointment for a minor.

Another tool which will become valuable for clinics and pharmacies administering vaccines during the 2021-2022 flu season is the ability to automatically schedule appointments for primer and booster doses and other vaccines. If a patient needs a follow-up appointment, it can be automatically scheduled on a future date.  If a patient has to rebook an appointment, they can do so directly on the platform, eliminating the need for patients to call the office and play phone tag with administrative staff to manage their appointments.

New Centralized Waitlist System

We learned that many patients looking for vaccinations are flexible to where they receive it, and like COVID19 vaccinations, many patients were putting themselves on multiple locations’ waitlists. This creates an inefficiency for the whole system. To address this, we’ve built into the EMPOWER Health locator a regional and location-specific waitlist feature.

Starting September 1st, anyone can sign-up to a vaccination waitlist for a specific location, group of locations, or a region, and be notified when any organization has vaccinations available. If someone received their vaccination somewhere else, the system will automatically cancel the other appointments and notify the organizations. We expect this to make the lives of healthcare organization administrators easier as they don’t have to manually remove patients from waitlists. It will also save the patients time as they don’t have to make appointments at dozens of locations.

Advanced Automatic Email Reminders

Waitlists and email communications are vital when managing expectations of potential patients. An integrated communications strategy can improve client satisfaction and retention and boost effectiveness and efficiency for healthcare organizations.

Now, healthcare professionals can create unlimited customized email and text reminders for different appointment types. Patients will receive automated appointment reminders by email or SMS, and can confirm their appointment electronically. Appointment reminders can also include pre-screening questions, appointment instructions or links to specific forms.

For example, vaccination consent forms can be filled out online by patients before their appointment. Any last minute changes to where or how a patient attends their appointment can be easily sent beforehand. After an appointment, you can send post-appointment follow-up communications like thank-you emails, feedback surveys or any supporting documentation, all with a click of a button. 

MyFluShot.ca is Now MyVaccines.ca

During 2020, we ran an Ontario wide campaign called MyFluShot.ca, in partnership with Immunize Canada, to encourage healthcare organizations to provide greater transparency to real-time vaccine availability inventory.

Based on it’s success we launched MyCovid19Vaccine.ca – as a dedicated service to allow Canadians to find and book available COVID19 Vaccinations – which saw incredible demand as the provincial governments rolled out vaccines to various cohorts of patients. It exposed the fact that nationally we as an industry can do a lot better in helping Canadian’s locate vaccinations, especially during times of high demand and limited supply.

To help increase transparency and equity of vaccine delivery, we’ve evolved MyFluShot.ca and MyCovid19Vaccine.ca into simply MyVaccines.ca – a national vaccine locator for all vaccines.  Our vision with this platform is to have vaccine availability and inventory data from all vaccinators across Canada, and to make it easy for all Canadian’s find and book their next vaccination. This effort builds on the successful pilots and partnerships with organizations across the healthcare industry in Canada.

MyVaccines.ca makes vaccinations easy for healthcare professionals as well. It’s the easiest and fastest way to let the community know what vaccines you have available – without picking up the phone. It will improve healthcare navigation of the whole system, thereby increasing effectiveness and efficiency across networks. MyVaccines.ca has advanced features like simplified vaccine inventory management, multi-dose scheduling, automatic email reminders and centralized wait lists that make managing vaccination appointments a breeze. In the MyVaccines.ca portal, healthcare professionals can also update their operating and holiday hours, the languages available at their clinic and other healthcare services they offer, easily directing patients to their location. 

As of September 1st, patients can sign-up to be notified when flu shots are in stock. Start accepting pre-bookings today with a free professional account.

Visit www.MyVaccines.ca to register now.


EMPOWER Health’s online booking tools

EMPOWER Health is a personalized online appointment booking platform and health service directory that help Canadians find and access the care they need.

EMPOWER Health’s digital health solutions include national directories of healthcare organizations, online appointment booking that integrates with clinical workflows and clinical software, wait-times services, centralized wait-lists email notification system and simplified vaccine inventory management. 

Crunching COVID Numbers: What to Expect this Fall

Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore claims that he “absolutely” expects a rise in COVID-19 cases in September and that Ontario will be preparing for the potential surge (Davidson, 2021).

Fall is right around the corner—and so is flu season. As most people tend to spend a great amount of time indoors due to colder temperatures, many respiratory viruses will also begin to spread around mid to late September (Davidson, 2021). It is crucial for Ontario to amp up its immunization rates by September so that Ontarians can safely take part in indoor activities (Davidson, 2021).

According to the Ontario Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 Daily Epidemiologic Summary, COVID-19 infections have recently jumped well over the 100 count (Tsekouras, 2021). The majority of these new cases were found in Toronto and Hamilton (Tsekouras, 2021). Other affected areas include Waterloo, Peel Region, York Region, Durham Region, Halton Region, and Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph (Tsekouras, 2021).  As of July 28, 2021, there were 218 new cases reported in Ontario (Fox, 2021).

Update on COVID-19 Variants

As of last week, 234 cases of COVID-19 variants of concern (VOC) were reported in Ontario (Tsekouras, 2021). At least 99 of those 234 cases were of the Alpha variant, about 69 of them were of the Gamma variant, 61 cases of the Delta variant, and 5 of them were of the Beta variant (Tsekouras, 2021).

Looking Ahead

Dr. Moore seems confident that Ontario will be able to reach its desired targets and move forward from stage 3 before August 6th, 2021. In order to surpass stage 3 however, at least 80% of those eligible for vaccines need to have received their first dose, and 75% should have their second (Davidson, 2021). Moreover, the province will be remaining in this stage for a minimum of 21 days before most public health restrictions are lifted (Tsekouras, 2021). As such, Ontarians will need to keep up with their COVID-19 vaccines to be well-prepared for the fall.

“It’s a challenge to all Ontarians. If we want to get through to the next phase of reopening, which is a complete reopening with no public health measures, we’ve got work cut out for us.” – Dr. Kieran Moore

For those looking to get vaccinated against COVID-19, visit iamsick.ca to book your appointment.

References

Davidson, S. (2021, July 13). Ontario’s top doctor ‘absolutely’ expects rise IN COVID-19 cases in September. Toronto. https://toronto.ctvnews.ca/ontario-s-top-doctor-absolutely-expects-rise-in-covid-19-cases-in-september-1.5507695.

Fox, C. (2021, July 29). Ontario reports highest number of new COVID-19 cases in more than three weeks. CP24. https://www.cp24.com/news/ontario-reports-highest-number-of-new-covid-19-cases-in-more-than-three-weeks-1.5527730.

Tsekouras, P. (2021, July 22). Ontario reports jump in new COVID-19 infections but case numbers remain below 200. Toronto. https://toronto.ctvnews.ca/ontario-reports-jump-in-new-covid-19-infections-but-case-numbers-remain-below-200-1.5519069.

About the Author

Bairavie Piravakaran (she/her) is a second-year undergraduate at the University of Toronto Scarborough. As a Psychological & Health Sciences student, she values the importance of sharing credible information and making health resources more accessible to the public. Her interests in population health, research, and design are also reflected in her non-academic pursuits—she currently with the Young Leaders of Public Health and Medicine (YLPHM) as a Social Media Manager for the Scarborough Chapter and is a Health Promotion & Analytics Member at Critical Health Innovations Lab (CHIL). At EMPOWER Health, Bairavie works closely with the Marketing Team in order to plan and execute strategies that help inform the public about current health-related topics.

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).

translate.JPG

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.

 

——

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?

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to: Using the iamsick.ca map filter

Did you know that iamsick.ca has filters that help you find the right healthcare provider?

iamsick.ca‘s filters help you narrow down your search so you can find the right healthcare provider for you. You can access these filters on the iamsick.ca map.

fullscreen

You can filter by:

  • Healthcare provider type
  • Family doctors accepting new patients
  • Healthcare providers open right now
  • Healthcare providers offering e-Booking
  • Languages spoken by the healthcare provider

Healthcare Provider Type

iamsick.ca displays different types of healthcare providers.  These include: emergency rooms, pharmacies, diagnostic labs, urgent care centres, walk-in clinics and family doctors (rostered primary care clinics).

Each type of healthcare provider offers a different service. To view your nearest options, simply click to toggle the healthcare provider type that you’re looking for.  Nearby providers become visible when the provider icon is coloured.

filter-provider

Family doctors accepting new patients

If you are looking for a family doctor, click on the check box next to “only show family doctors accepting new patients“.

If you can’t find one in your area right now, don’t fret! We are always adding new healthcare providers to our website. Check back later for the updated map.

filter-newpt

Healthcare providers open right now

It’s hard finding open clinics and pharmacies during off-hours. If you are looking for a healthcare provider in the evening or over the weekend, click on “only show healthcare providers open right now” to find care when you need it.

filter-open

Healthcare providers offering e-Booking

Did you know that you can book appointments online through iamsick.ca? To find a nearby healthcare provider that accepts online appointment booking, click on “only show healthcare providers offering e-booking“.

filter-book

Languages spoken by the healthcare provider 

Find nearby healthcare providers who speak a specific language with a simple click. You can filter by over 70 languages.

filter-language

Give our filters a try, and let us know how we can make your healthcare journey easier!

Send us your feedback, questions & suggestions.  You can reach us by email at team[at]iamsick.ca or leave a comment below.

iamsick.ca’s Grand Challenge

How can a Canadian digital health startup like iamsick.ca improve healthcare access for pregnant women living in rural parts of The Philippines?

“You begin by collaborating with another U of T startup… add some sweat and perseverance… along with financial support from Grand Challenges Canada… and soon, you’ll be improving lives beyond our borders.” – Ryan Doherty (President & co-Founder – iamsick.ca / PhD candidate – Medical Biophysics )

It isn’t surprising that remote areas of the world have limited access to healthcare. When it comes to maternal health, this means limited access to obstetricians and diagnostic services that you would see in larger metropolitan areas. In the Philippines, it can be as extreme as 44% of pregnant women giving birth without access to a doctor.

Last Spring, we teamed up with another U of T startup, Sonola Imaging Technologies, whose specialty is creating portable ultrasound hardware, and prepared a Grand Challenges Canada proposal to build a maternal health ultrasound mHealth app & web platform.

Nurses and midwives in remote satellite clinics will use Sonola’s portable ultrasound device and our android app to record ultrasound images. These images would then be easily accessed & viewed by physicians at major health centres in nearby cities.

Last October, Grand Challenges Canada awarded us with a grant to support the project.  So, while working on the iamsick.ca website and mobile apps to help Canadians navigate the healthcare system and book online appointments with their doctors, members of our team have been hard at work on this global health project.

Our team is designing & developing the android app & web infrastructure, while Sonola is building the hardware that will be used to capture the ultrasound images. By working together, our two early-stage Canadian start-ups will create a system that will hopefully redefine maternal health access in rural parts of the Philippines.ultrasound-diagram

The ultimate goal of this project is to create a low-cost and scalable product. In contrast to traditional ultrasound machines, we are using readily available hardware, such as low- to mid-range Android phones and chip sets. In the future, this system could eventually be used to monitor pregnant women living anywhere in the world – whether it’s here at home in Canada, or in regions of the world with high maternal mortality rates. The potential impact of telemedicine systems like these are endless.

As for our system, we’ll finish building it this summer and pilot it in the Philippines before the end of the year.

If you have a bold idea for a innovative technology or process that will help tackle a global health challenge, please check out the Grand Challenges website and take part in their next call for proposals.

#HealthKick2015 – We are ready!

It has been 10 weeks since we were announced as finalists at this year’s MaRS HealthKick 2015 Showcase.

Since then, our co-founder and president, Ryan Doherty, has been hard at work with our team and advisors to create the perfect pitch. The showcase is tomorrow, and we’re more ready than ever!

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What should you expect?

We are a young, up-and-coming startup that is ready to take on the challenge of helping patients navigate the healthcare system. Ryan’s vision to connect patients with appropriate care drives the team to improve our platform and find new ways to help Canadians to maneuver across the confusing healthcare landscape.  Recently, we’ve even started exploring features that will improve the delivery of healthcare – from our virtual waiting room to same-day/same-week advanced access.

At HealthKick, we are seeking angel round investments. If successful, the investments and opportunities will help us grow and spread the platform across different disciplines, and across Canada.

We are looking forward to see you at HealthKicks 2015. Good luck to our fellow finalists!

Presenting New Features at Primary Care Day

iamsick.ca will be at the second Annual Primary Care Day this Friday, March 27, 2015. The event is presented by the Mississauga Halton LHIN and MIssissauga Halton Primary Care Network. Primary care providers will have an opportunity to chat with our co-founder, Ryan, and the rest of our team about our platform.

Mississauga Halton Health Integration Network  LHIN

In late 2014, we started working together with Mississauga Halton LHIN to bring patients better access to timely and appropriate care. A core element of our platform is helping patients see relevant information. We believe that will help them find the right care at the right now. We have been working hard with MH LHIN prepare features that will help patients and health care providers in the Mississauga-Halton region.

On Friday, primary care providers will have the opportunity to explore our platform. Here’s a sneak peak of three features we have built for this project:

1. Provider Accounts

Health care providers will be able to use iamsick.ca to update any facility information, including holiday hours, after hours, and any contact information that is included in our system. This feature was designed with flexibility and convenience in mind. It is important to us that health care providers can easily update their patients with the most up-to-date and accurate information.

2. Holiday Hours

Each healthcare facility’s holiday hours will be prominently displayed. We understand there are challenges around holiday surges. These challenges can burden hospital emergency departments, while patients risk not receiving appropriate and timely care. With this feature, we hope to address these challenges. Patients will be able to view holiday hours and visit the appropriate care provider for their medical needs over holidays.

3. After Hours Information 

Similar to our Holiday Hours feature, we are also displaying after hours recommendations for primary care clinics. We know that each care provider wants to make sure that patients are receiving the best care. This means providing patients with the right after hours information, in the event they may require medical attention outside of regular business hours.

We look forward to presenting our new features on Friday at the Primary Care Day conference. Attendees will be able to try out these new features, provide feedback, and learn about how to use iamsick.ca to enhance their practice.