Illustration of people in hospital bads

#4: Ontario-based businesses and the innovation born as a result of COVID-19

In the early days of the pandemic, no one knew COVID-19’s reach.

Back then, there were a plethora of unanswered questions, including two that just about everyone was asking: “Who is most at risk?” and “Where will the virus hit hardest?”

The answer would quickly become evident. With nearly half of Canada’s COVID deaths occurring in long-term care homes across the country — and provinces and territories experiencing a second wave — Canada’s seniors aren’t out of the woods yet. In fact, the virus continues to have a stronghold on our most vulnerable members of society. 
Startup Writi is made up of a team of healthcare professionals, developers and engineers who run a cloud-based medication-management software (available on computer browsers and mobile devices) that aims to give physicians a digital place where they can manage patient information and acute orders and review medication, charts and more.  “The system supports digital communication, record maintenance and workflow of patient-related orders and documentation. Information flows seamlessly into the patient’s health record and is securely accessible by local and remote healthcare partners,” says Parth Patel, Writi’s CEO. The company connects healthcare providers, care homes, institutions, pharmacies, caregivers and patients in a digital space that allows collaboration. Their system allows doctors and nurses to capture and share vital information. “Our virtual healthcare platform also facilitates secure billing and reporting associating with virtual healthcare, and is integrated with Telus Health Solutions. Writi is partnered with and integrates into both PointClickCare and MED e-care, leading cloud-based platforms that serve most of Canada’s long-term care and retirement homes.” 
Prior to last March, Patel says the Writi team was focusing on creating new modules to make the lives of residents smoother by investing in automation to make nursing work more efficient. They also focused on making healthcare data available virtually for outpatient facilities. Of course, they didn’t know that within weeks, their business would pivot. On April 10, Writi Virtual Healthcare’s telemedicine solution (compliant with both Canada’s Personal Health Information Protection Act and the United States’ Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) was launched to help senior healthcare professionals manage residents’ health and hopefully help stop the spread of COVID. 
“The system supports digital communication, record maintenance and workflow of patient-related orders and documentation.”
This telehealth service aimed to give administrators and physicians more time to take care of their patients and spend less time on administration. The features are outstanding: electronic prescribing (with prescriptions automatically sent to pharmacies); scheduling of virtual visits and appointments; the ability to assess symptoms and severity of symptoms; monitor patients in isolation; high-definition calls on mobile and computer; instant messaging between staff and patients; collection of digital orders; access to medication history; and billing with OHIP billing codes (codes include assessments of patients via phone or video, mental health care and consultations, for example).
Changing course wasn’t too tall an order. “Social distancing is something we’re all listening to since COVID. Our solution is anti-COVID because our idea was to make doctors virtually available and make the healthcare data available on a remote base but in a secure manner, and that is a thought process behind the idea of Writi,” says Patel. The Writi system has been implemented on several long-term care homes, including Holland Christian Homes in Brampton, Ont., where about 20 residents and staff tested positive for the virus. In a testimonial, the home lauded the positive impact Writi has had on its compliance and workflow. “In a pessimistic situation, everyone at work or home could get the virus, but we do not all have to get sick at the same time if we can limit and not overload the hospital system, the supply of hospital beds, doctors and ventilators,” Patel says. 
“We are fortunate to have Writi to make more things virtually and to slow down this virus. Overall, we will slow down the transmission long enough to have vaccines available before most of the population is exposed.”

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