A Deeper Look at Canada’s Robust Healthtech Ecosystem

Everyone talks about AI, but healthtech in Canada is also paving the way forward for innovation in the country’s tech world.

OMERS Ventures published a roundup of why the healthtech scene in Canada is impressive, looking at both the vast amount of money in the scene as well as the pure tech advancements over the past years. Global health spending is set to reach $8.7 trillion by 2020, and as the general population ages, the need for care will grow as well.

Technology advances in healthcare have allowed for significant innovation, such as the ability to empower the patient to gain more control over their health data; centralized data to make health records and other information more integrated; and increased accessibility from location-agnostic care.

Healthtech is a specific type of innovation within healthcare. While life sciences tech from biopharma, medical devices and healthcare IT is also growing, software-first healthtech focuses on healthcare applications where software has a real effect in driving innovation and efficiency. This spans a lot of advances, from wellness to home care to health data sharing.

The below graphic was put together by OMERS to highlight some of the leading healthtech companies in Canada.


Ontario dominates the healthtech world, with massive companies like PointClickCare and League joined by smaller startups like Figure 1. The top categories are care coordination, telemedicine, home care, drug discovery, health data sharing and wellness.

In terms of how healthtech companies picked up venture funding, there was a steep increase over the last two years in the U.S. In 2017, $5.8 billion USD was invested across 345 digital health companies, while that number was only $4.4 billion across 324 companies in 2016.

Canada’s healthtech sector saw some significant investments over the past 12 months, including the ones mentioned above. Dialogue and Deep Genomics paced the group with some of the larger investments.

From the OMERS perspective, a few indicators are outlined that make healthtech companies more intriguing to potential venture investors. First is the ability to scale geographically, as regulatory challenges within provinces and countries will force companies to adapt and shift their business models. Second is having a full solution versus a point solution, as real value will be driven by companies that offer a suite of solutions for a given care scenario. Thirdly is the ability to drive value from data as the ability to sort through fragmented and unusable patient data to derive results and change patient outcomes is integral to advancing the industry. Lastly is having a highly adoptable business model, because healthcare is a complex system, and the path to revenue can often be unclear.

“Based on what we’ve seen in the space, we predict that once patients are empowered, sharing will be the next movement in health care,” writes Michelle Killoran, an associate at OMERS Ventures.

The widespread adoption of social media and e-commerce will help healthtech companies collect data to offer personalized care and develop faster clinical trials.

“As people take control of their health information, the benefits from sharing may overpower the traditional stigma around keeping information private,” Killoran concludes.