Monday, November 29, 2021

Ontario-based company providing virtual healthcare for kids

Canada’s first digital pediatric healthcare platform, KixCare, is providing families in Ontario with online pediatric care from experts through virtual consultations.

Launched in August, the company has raised $2 million in seed funding which will help it grow its team and continue to improve its healthcare and digital experience, said CEO and co-founder Daniel Warner. 

How it works

KixCare is simple and easy to use. To access the platform, all users need to do is go to KixCare.com and create an account. Users can then browse the health and wellness services available.

“Pediatrician online visits are covered under OHIP and other provincial public programs,” Warner said. Other services such as pediatric psychologists, behaviour therapists and dieticians have to be paid through insurance or private pay.

“It’s essentially a one-stop-shop for kids’ health needs online.”

Source: KixCare

Effectiveness

While some may think that a doctor’s visit has to be in person, Dr. Sheldon Elman, co-founder of KixCare, believes a lot of medical issues can be solved online, and for those hesitant, it’s all a matter of adjustment. He observed that there was a time when making online purchases and managing finances online was untrustworthy, and now people access virtually everything online. 

“Amazon has become one of the biggest companies in the world. Everybody is buying everything online,” Dr. Elman said. 

Not every medical concern needs to be addressed in person; online appointments can help lower exposure to other sick children as well as alleviate capacity issues such as those encountered at Toronto SickKids hospital. According to a CBC article, in August, SickKids recorded its busiest month ever, with 6,000 patients – 40 per cent more than last year. Virtual care can help combat some of these capacity issues that hospitals and clinics are starting to see.

While Warner and Dr. Elman both explain that virtual care does not always work in certain health scenarios, it is definitely a viable and productive option.

“I am a believer that a health journey from here on in starts securely online, and ultimately that either is resolved or then would shift to a brick and mortar experience again, being a clinic or hospital. But clinics simply don’t have the capacity,” Warner said.

KixCare can be useful for parents of newborns who are still struggling to figure things out, but do not want to risk bringing their baby into a busy environment, especially during the  COVID-19 pandemic.

“So they don’t know what to do and the baby’s not sleeping or not eating properly. So how do you get a lactation consultant?  How do you get a sleep expert? We have that readily available,” Dr. Elman said.

More accessible

KixCare is also a great option for those living in rural areas. Not everyone lives in a big city and has access to a clinic five minutes away from them. Having an option like Kixcare, where a parent can get assistance via video call, text, or phone call is useful in these situations. 

Warner said the company is planning to expand to Quebec and other provinces shortly to make its services available nationwide. According to Dr. Elman, KixCare is also looking to offer its program to developing countries that don’t have any physicians available.

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