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Business in Vancouver: Digital innovators helping transform health care

Five B.C. entrepreneurs and executives leading the way in medical services breakthroughs

With stakes that can be life-or-death, a heavy dose of regulation and a culture that can seem allergic to change, innovating in the health-care industry can be a significant challenge, but these five entrepreneurs are leading the way and showing how it’s done.

Article written by Rolando Hinojosa for Business in Vancouver| October 21, 2019

LINK: https://biv.com/article/2019/10/digital-innovators-helping-transform-health-care

Michael Fergusson, Ayogo Health

For Michael Fergusson, “disruption is not always virtuous. You need to pick your battles very carefully.

“Health care is a very challenging place to work,” said the CEO and co-founder of Ayogo Health. “It’s a multi-stakeholder environment, it’s very conservative and appropriately so for the most part. You don’t want to be changing things just to see what happens.”

Founded in 2011 out of a predecessor company, Ayogo marries behavioural science and software to help patients and health-care professionals assess, track and manage therapy and care for a variety of health conditions.

Alexandra Greenhill, Careteam Technologies

“It’s an absolute myth that physicians hate technology. As health care was gradually digitized, physicians were forced to use tools that were not designed for clinical practice, so they have developed a deep mistrust for all the overpromising and under-delivering that technology companies have thrown their way,” said Careteam Technologies co-founder, CEO and chief medical officer Alexandra Greenhill.

Greenhill should know – she’s a trained physician with more than 15 years of experience working in health-care innovation.

Careteam uses a smart overlay on electronic medical records to create collaboration between organizations and patients across increasingly complex and fragmented health-care systems.

Lynda Brown-Ganzert, Curatio

“Our desire is that every patient on the planet has the private, personalized social support they need to achieve their best outcomes and live their healthiest lives,” said Curatio co-founder and CEO Lynda Brown-Ganzert.

Founded in 2013, Curatio creates personalized private networks to help acquire and retain patients using social network theory and daily disease management tools that incorporate artificial intelligence, machine learning and matchmaking for peer support.

“At Curatio we define success as having a triple bottom line – good for the patient, the payer/provider and society overall,” Brown-Ganzert said. “Thinking in this way on a global scale has largely contributed to our success to date.”

The company said its platform is now being used in more than 85 countries and in four languages.

Geof Auchinleck, Claris Healthcare

“I sometimes joke that the key to success in business is simply surviving long enough to be a success,” said Claris Healthcare co-founder, president and CEO Geof Auchinleck.

“Entrepreneurs have to be insanely optimistic because things always take longer and are way harder than you expect,” he said.

Founded in 2012, Claris helps patients and health-care providers monitor health through wearable devices, tablets and its communications platform, ensuring improved outcomes in social care, chronic care and acute care.

Auchinleck attributes Claris’ success to “staying focused on what makes sense for our customers, rather than what is easy for us. Making things simple is hard work, but it pays off in speeding the adoption and increasing the engagement of our end users.”

Danny Goel, Precision OS Technologies

For Danny Goel, being a physician and an entrepreneur feels like a unique situation with a very particular set of challenges.

“We can see problems as they exist in our everyday workspace. With this in mind, the ethics of our role as caregivers must always supersede that which can be gained from a business perspective,” he said.

“Dealing with both is a personal and professional challenge of innovation in [the health-care industry].”

Goel is the co-founder and CEO of Precision OS Technologies, a company that fuses medicine and game development to offer orthopedic surgical education and pre-operative planning through virtual reality simulations.

“Timing is everything, as we would not be having this conversation five or 10 years ago related to emerging technologies,” Goel said.