Virtual Healthcare App Akira Launches So Canadians Can Text Doctors

This month Akira, a mobile platform that connects patients to family doctors on demand, launched to bring patients one-on-one consultations from their smartphone.

Available for download on Android and iOS, the app allows patients in Ontario to consult with board-certified physicians by mobile text or video, and provides users mobile access to personal health records including clinical notes, prescriptions and test results.

Akira is launching with $500,000 in seed funding from investors including Shopify founder Tobias Lütke, Top Hat founder, Mike Silagadze, and venture capital firm Highline.

“The way Canadians interact with their doctors hasn’t really changed in 100 years. Technology has revolutionized almost every other aspect of our lives except the healthcare system,” said Dustin Walper, co-founder, Akira. “At Akira, we’re focused on bringing high-quality health care to people everywhere, and we’re leveraging technology to do it. We’re starting with the Akira app, but our ultimate goal is to build the world’s smartest artificial medical assistant.”

Once logged in, users can begin a text conversation with the doctor, and based on the patient’s situation, doctors can immediately launch a video chat if necessary. Doctor response time is typically within two minutes. Doctors can write prescriptions and send them to the user’s pharmacy of choice, refer patients to specialists or allied health professionals, and order tests. Through partners, Akira also offers free, same-day delivery of prescription medications to the home or office.

The company was co-founded by Walper, who previously co-founded web and mobile development agency Myplanet, and Dr. Taha Bandukwala, a radiologist who recently completed residency at The University of Toronto.

“Akira’s mobile health platform is bringing much-needed change to a medical system still reliant on fax machines and paper charts,” said Dr. Bandukwala, chief medical officer. “According to the American Medical Association, up to 70 per cent of doctor’s visits could be conducted virtually, saving an unnecessary trip to the doctor’s office. Canadians are demanding better access to health care, and we built an interdisciplinary team of physicians, developers, data scientists and designers to bring transparency, accessibility, and user-friendliness to the patient experience.”

Akira is available through a monthly subscription service for $10 per month. The app is available for download on the App Store and Google Play Store.