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In a world that's rapidly going online for all of its most basic and complicated needs, a Cape Breton company is hoping to find new markets for its software that brings medical care to all environments.
The best-known product from New Waterford-based Health Outcomes Worldwide is a wound care platform called how2track, that provides "real-time, evidence-based support in wound care management," according to the company's description.
Recently, the company signed a memorandum of understanding with the Ottawa Hospital to advance numerous applications of how2track. It's one of five projects Health Outcomes Worldwide has had with the Ottawa Hospital over the past three years, including a new version of its software that could meet an emerging demand for virtual care.
"Instead of leaving it up to chance, our application has sophisticated algorithms in the background that look at the patient, their illness and really reminds the staff what to do," said Corrine McIsaac, founder and CEO of Health Outcomes Worldwide.
"They've seen a reduction in costs, a reduction in amputations and we have a wonderful relationship."
In the midst of the current COVID-19 crisis, McIsaac said because of their work with the Ottawa Hospital they made a very quick pivot and stripped that wound care virtual platform so that is it is available for virtual care.
Cape Breton University recently purchased this virtual care platform to manage students who require secure conferencing access to physicians and other health-care providers.
A university spokesperson said the live video feature, as opposed to an in-office appointment, allows CBU to offer "quality and timely" health services to students and employees.
"Beyond being able to see things like wounds, throat infections, someone’s skin tone and respiratory effort, this software means our health-care team can actually look into the eyes of a patient and see their emotions when they describe something happening in their life," CBU spokesperson Lenore Parsley told the Cape Breton Post.
"This kind of access is fundamental to providing a therapeutic relationship, in addition to physical health care."
If the product could find more of a market in Nova Scotia and Atlantic Canadian, McIsaac said it might mean improved access to health care for Nova Scotians during COVID-19 isolation precautions. Good paying jobs as part of Health Outcomes Worldwide's expansion would be another payoff.
"This opportunity for us is phenomenal," she said. "I could today, if I had the money, hire 25 people with the demand. I don't have that kind of money to go out and do that. But if we were able to land contracts here in Nova Scotia, like we have in other provinces, it could just mean so much economic growth and I mean really good paying jobs."
The company currently has 10 staff members who are all either engineers or registered nurses. If a few contracts went their way, that number could quickly double or triple.
"That's a few (jobs) on the engineer (side) but it is going to be on the implementation customer service side. You are going to have 80-year-olds at home using an app and we want to be there for them."
The Health Outcomes Worldwide team recently pitched its virtual care software to the Nova Scotia Health Authority and gave a demonstration.
Cathy Cruz, manager of virtual care for the health authority, said she and her team have viewed the platform and called it "very interesting." They will continue to view it, review it and explore opportunities for it in the future, she said.
McIsaac called their virtual care software a homegrown solution to current isolation related health-care issues and they are ready to implement it.
"We have such a wonderful opportunity here. It's pretty exciting. It's pretty exhausting. It could not only help people right now but it could also really help a desperate economy."