Q2 2024

NEWS Eligible residents will be matched with a Health Ambassador, an upskilled community care provider with digital health skills, who collaborate with virtual clinicians to deliver as much care as possible in the home setting. The Health Ambassador care platform will bridge gaps in home care and primary care for residents who do not have a family doctor, and for patients who require an alternate level of care (ALC), rather than keeping them in the hospital. Across Canada, approximately 15% of acute-level care beds in hospitals are filled by ALC patients due to a lack of structural support for care within their own homes. New initiative aims to close healthcare gaps in rural Ontario through in-home care powered by AI technology Gotcare, a national health technology start-up reimagining health services in the home, has partnered with Quinte Health and the Reach Alliance at the University of Toronto to launch their AI-enabled Health Ambassador care platform in the Hastings region. DIGITAL, Canada’s Global Innovation Cluster for digital technologies, is providing co-investment of $1.5m to support the total $3.1m initiative. The organizations are working together to ensure that no resident gets left behind. Gotcare plans to bring its AI-enabled triage and health monitoring tools into residents’ homes, starting in North Hastings. The organizations are working together to decrease the Hastings region’s longer than usual wait times for primary care and home care, due to a lack of workers in these fields. This is unfortunately common for rural regions, as only eight percent of doctors in Ontario work outside of urban centres. “How residents are doing in the home has been a black box for clinicians, health organizations, and care funders. Historically, this makes timely, cost-saving interventions tricky,” said Gotcare CEO and co-founder Chenny Xia. “I am confident that we will provide data-driven insights to help set a new standard for technology-enabled rural care.” Gotcare Health Ambassadors will work closely with Quinte Health staff and in collaboration with community health providers with the Hastings Prince Edward Ontario Health Team to monitor residents at home in order to spot health issues early and take action before critical care is required — especially for those who do not have a family doctor. “One of Quinte Health’s core values is, ‘imagine it’s you’,” said Gina Johar, Vice President and Chief Digital Officer of Quinte Health. “But with strained health care staffing, it can be difficult to ensure patients are getting the right care in the right place. By partnering with Gotcare, we can offer more support and early interventions to our patients — all from the comfort of their own home.” “DIGITAL is excited to build upon the over 5 years of investments we’ve made in applied AI with this latest announcement,” said Nadia Shaikh-Naeem, Vice President of Programs at DIGITAL. “Led by Gotcare, this consortium is helping build a more efficient, supported system of connection and access to care. We’re proud to co-invest alongside innovators like Gotcare and support partnerships such as these that are building on Canada’s global reputation in AI and bringing better care to more Canadians.” The Reach Alliance at the University of Toronto will uncover actionable insights about this health care model between Gotcare and Quinte Health. They will look at how it affects stakeholders, including patients and clinicians, as well as how home-based and early interventions create possible cost-savings for the health care system. The Reach Alliance can then make policy recommendations based on their real-time learnings from this partnership. “Innovative solutions addressing urgent public health challenges faced by last mile populations are a main research focus of the Reach Alliance,” said Marin MacLeod, Executive Director of the Reach Alliance. “We’re excited to partner with Gotcare and Quinte Health to better understand how innovative health care interventions can lead to improved health outcomes for geographically remote populations in Ontario.” Gotcare has been working on bringing health care to rural Canada for years now. With rural hospitals often existing 25 kilometres or more away from residents, the company has employed its Health Ambassadors across rural Canada to make health care more accessible. As Gotcare continues to expand on their work to bring health care to rural Canada, the company is committed to paying Health Ambassadors a living wage. Gotcare’s commitment to fair pay helps retain workers, which is especially important during a health care worker shortage.