To quote the age-old Proverb:
“The presence of the doctor is the beginning of the cure.”
The last 15 months have been challenging. Access to healthcare providers has been restricted due to the pandemic. Existing virtual health care platforms are outdated and do not integrate the healthcare ecosystem. Seamless patient care and enhancement of practice efficiency was found lagging. But one of the silver linings that have emerged from this sea of dark clouds is a greater appreciation for the services the healthcare workers provide and the need to leverage technology.
The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged the traditional way in which medicine is practiced. Some patients have found it difficult to receive in-person treatment from their doctors. Travel and other restrictions compounded the problem. In order to rectify this situation, a few professionals came together to create ONRx, a patient-centric integrated virtual healthcare platform.
“COVID highlighted the need for a contactless business model,” Dr. Bharat Maheshwari, a Co-founder at YQG Technologies Inc., states. “The need for access to healthcare is very high. We need our questions to be answered in an easy, timely and efficient manner. So, we decided to leverage technology to find a way to meet the need.”
Bharat teamed up with Harpreet Virk, a seasoned IT professional, Dr.Vik Maraj a local family physician, Dr. Padmaja Naidu, an Internist, and other domain experts to find a solution.
“Virtual care has always been on the horizon,” Dr. Maraj explains. “Prior to COVID, it’s been available to patients to a limited degree. The pandemic has certainly accelerated the adoption of virtual care. We absolutely recognize that it is not a replacement for an in-person visit. That said, many of my colleagues have been using it effectively. And it’s been an absolute boon for rural and hard-to-reach places.”
ONRx designed with the patient in mind
“We want to make ONRx a seamless ecosystem,” Harpreet states. “What’s important is that the patient has the ability to connect with a doctor, irrespective of the geographical limitations. When the doctor is seeing the patient, all the relevant and required information is available to the doctor, who can then provide an informed consultation in a timely fashion.”
“Electronic medical records have been around for at least a decade and telemedicine is gaining popularity,” Dr. Maraj states. “It’s all about making the platform patient-centric, secure and easy to use for e-patients and health care providers.
ONRx has had a soft launch in Ontario with plans to scale it to all of Canada shortly. Recently, ONRx rose to the occasion to help out during the COVID crisis in India.
“When cases rose in India, the healthcare system was significantly overwhelmed,” Bharat explains. “Many patients were struggling to see a physician. Hospitals were over crowded. Health care providers were unable to serve so many people. So, we volunteered our platform. Several Doctors from Canada and the U.S. signed up to help out.”
“Because of certain jurisdictional constraints, the Doctors of the platform mostly provided advice and support,” Dr. Maraj states. “I think it was very helpful for us to use our experience to help Indian patients through their journey. The patients were very appreciative. And I think the advice we provided made and continues to make a difference.”
An advanced virtual platform
And what is also impressive about ONRx is the way the platform was designed through inputs from a diverse cross section of health care and business professionals. The cross functional collaboration has created an advanced virtual platform.
ONRx has a built-in analytics engine for both the patients and clinicians to see and manage progress. Doctors, patients, and caregivers can monitor changes over time and predictive analytics is possible. It improves quality of care as innovations such as integration of virtual reality and blockchain based identification and tracking system will further enhance quality of care. The platform is being designed so as to integrate service providers such as, pharmacists, physiotherapists, nutritionists, laboratories, and others.
“This is such a good news story,” Adam Castle, WEtech Alliance Director of Venture Services, explains. “The sheer amount of people that have collaborated and contributed towards ONRx has been massive. There are so many folks behind the scenes on making this possible. It’s such a good news story for Windsor and Essex County. ONRx is hitting on a lot of those big gaps that we’re seeing in the system.”
And this development, Adam stresses, is emblematic of a larger shift in the local tech industry.
“We’re so proud to have these types of initiatives and these types of software products coming out of Windsor-Essex,” Adam states. “It is so refreshing to see a company like ONRx, because it means that we’re right on the cusp of a huge shift towards local technology companies building products to tackle some of the biggest challenges we face in modern society.”