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New initiative aims to close healthcare gaps in rural Ontario through in-home care powered by AI technology
[May 27, 2024]

New initiative aims to close healthcare gaps in rural Ontario through in-home care powered by AI technology


Gotcare and Quinte Health will leverage AI and digital health tools to allow Hastings residents to access health care in their own homes.

TORONTO, May 27, 2024 /CNW/ - 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. 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.

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 appled 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.

About Gotcare 

The health care worker shortage has left many older adults and people living with chronic conditions without access to the care they need. By attracting and upskilling community health workers who have previously left the sector, Gotcare is rehumanizing the patient care journey. They provide personalized in-home care, AI-driven health monitoring, and virtual care support to address low-acuity care needs right at home. Gotcare is a social enterprise and a certified living wage employer. For more information: gotcare.ca.

About Quinte Health

Quinte Health is a family of four hospitals—Belleville General Hospital, North Hastings Hospital,?Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital?and?Trenton Memorial Hospital—that are working to "Create Healthier Communities. Together".

The team of 2,600 staff and physicians provide care through four emergency departments, operating rooms at three hospitals, a rehabilitation day hospital, ambulatory care clinics, and a range of diagnostic services. There are more than 335 inpatient beds for acute medical patients, intensive care, obstetrics, paediatrics, mental health, complex continuing care, rehabilitation, and surgery. In addition, Quinte Health is proud to operate the Quinte Children's Treatment Centre, community mental health programs, and to be a member of the Hastings Prince Edward Ontario Health Team.

About the Reach Alliance at the University of Toronto

The Reach Alliance is a consortium of global universities unleashing actionable research insights to tackle urgent local challenges of the hard to reach – those under-served for geographic, administrative, or social reasons. Working in interdisciplinary teams, Reach's globally-minded researchers use rigorous methods to identify innovative solutions to public health, climate, and economic challenges. The United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals provide inspiration and a guiding framework.

The Reach Alliance was created in 2015 by the University of Toronto's Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy, in partnership with the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth.

About DIGITAL

DIGITAL, Canada's Global Innovation Cluster for digital technologies, grows Canadian businesses through the development, adoption and deployment of Canadian-made technologies and by working with industry to develop a digitally skilled workforce to positively impact lives across our country.

We bring together businesses, academia, community and government agencies to solve some of industry and society's biggest challenges – better and faster than any single organization can do on its own. Through a powerful model that combines cross-sector collaboration, Canadian IP creation and results-based co-investment, we unlock the potential of Canadian industry to lead and succeed in the digital world.

Ahead of the curve starts here. For more information, visit digitalsupercluster.ca.

SOURCE Gotcare


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