Whether you get a bump on the head or an airbag knocks you out cold in a car accident, nobody wants to wait when it comes to their own health. Unfortunately for many Canadians, wait times are an expected component when it comes to getting vital image scanning appointments. Wayne Li is the Founder and CEO of NextUp Care, a Toronto Founder Institute portfolio company that is disrupting burdensome medical wait times through a Digital Health scheduling solution.
According to Founder and CEO Li Wayne,
The classic example is for a typical outpatient MRI in Ontario, the wait time is 100 days. The target, which has been set by the Ministry of Health, is 28 days, and most hospitals are not able to meet their wait time targets at the moment.
For patients, extended windows of wait time can drastically impact their physical well being and day-to-day life. Li explains,
There is a cost associated with excess wait times. One of them is that you’re on medication and you shouldn’t be on medication, but your treatment is being delayed and your families are providing support for you—so that is a cost. Our solution is an optimized scheduling platform where we bring together hospitals, doctors, and patients on a common platform. It let’s you find the nearest facility with the shortest wait time to schedule the earliest appointment for a patient.
Reducing Patient Wait Times is a Problem That Health Innovators Want Solved
Because of the company’s mission and viable technology solution, NextUp Care received a $100,000 grant from the Canadian Ministry of Health Health Technologies Fund (HTF) in 2017. The grants were awarded to only 15 companies, and support the development of software and mobile devices that focus on the delivery of better home and community care. Then in 2018, CEO Wayne Li was accepted into the Canadian Digital Media Network (CDMN) cohort dubbed Get There: San Francisco as one of only eight companies. The program is designed to provide entrepreneurs with connections, experience, and mentoring that will allow them to harness growth their potential.
This success in San Francisco builds upon Li’s plan of scaling NextUp Care’s solutions beyond Canada, and eventually across the globe. Before a global rollout though, Li has plans to look beyond diagnostic imaging towards other medical areas with wait times in Canada, like general surgeries and routine procedures.
It’s a difficult problem, but it has real-world impacts. Our company will actually be able to help patients who reduce their wait times and improve their overall well-being. That, for me, is a very powerful thing, in terms of the company.
Although similar software applications exist in the market, some of these can one-sided. As a patient, you typically seek out either the nearest healthcare provider, or one that you are already familiar with. From there, the provider tells you how long wait times are, and either you accept it or continue on with your search. Looking back manually through the providers that NextUp Care tracks automatically, finding a provider that has a short wait time can be like finding a needle in a haystack—but not with NextUp Care.
There are point solutions in the marketplace which allow you to do appointment scheduling or wait time reporting, but nowhere do you have one platform that brings together both hospitals, doctors, and patients to ensure you get a better experience.
Instead of the typical one-sided appointment setting solution, with NextUp Care, the hospital, doctor, and patient are able to easily coordinate an appointment. This alleviates much of the burden on the patient, which means happier and healthier outcomes for everyone.