Connecting with health professionals has never been easier.
Toronto-based Avocare helps clinics function better and serve their patients by enabling AI assistance, easy-to-manage inquiry management, and improved customer satisfaction. The company’s Remote Care offering just launched in three GTA clinics and Avocare is in talks to launch across other clinics soon.
Remote Care helps patients at partnered clinics by connecting them with the front desk and offering seamless communication around several requests, including prescription refills, doctor’s notes, and direct lines of contact with the patient’s doctor. This also includes previously included features like booking appointments. An AI-powered chatbot will come later on to help guide patients, making the process even easier.
“Down the road, AI integration will be vital,” says Nathan Mah, head of business development at Avocare. “AI can maximize yield on financial return and it can potentially have larger implications around how many patients a doctor can treat.”
Avocare looks to create world-class healthcare experiences for both patients and providers. Often, customers can have a poor relationship because of mismanaged communication, like slow inquiry replies and difficult navigation in terms of booking appointments. Avocare wants to ensure patients have lifelines of their own doctors by connecting them digitally to the front desk at almost any time.
A huge component of what Avocare does—while also separating itself from competition like Maple or Right Health—is connect patients with their own doctors, building on the familiarity and trust that a family physician brings.
“Continuity of care is important, and we think outcomes are way better when you work with your own doctor,” says Vik Luthra, CEO of Avocare. “From a business perspective, once you add a clinic, you have 5,000 or 10,000 patients who may become interested and sign up. That’s where it makes more sense to approach the market just like the medical space was designed to operate.”
The company began with a conversation between Luthra and his wife, who is a physician. She noticed there was no way for patients to really reach her remotely, even though a lot of cases she saw in-person at the clinic could be remedied remotely. Avocare would serve to connect her with patients who simply have a quick inquiry and have a lot of trust in their family doctor.
But a big part of the challenge is making sure an aging population will be able to adopt technologies that may seem a bit out of reach.
“We have a clinic in Burlington that we work with that skews to an older demographic,” explains Luthra. “Seventy-seven, 85, 87, even a 90-year-old uses Avocare technology and we make it super simple for them. The language is simple, and we even enable text messaging to front desks for them, because that is a kind of technology they may be familiar with.”
Avocare started with one pilot clinic but realized there was a necessity for their program when two other clinics in the city soon approached them looking to leverage the technology.
“There’s a little bit of replication going on as we sign new clinics and as they see the power of this, seeing what we can do to help them transform their clinics,” says Luthra. “We deliver results in one clinic and we get more.”
There is now an outbound process in terms of signing new clinics, but Luthra and Avocare want to make sure they nail any kinds of partners they have now. Citing that 48 per cent of patients at mid-to-large size clinics do not have any kind of remote care link, the company is focusing on Toronto and wants to expand through Canada with an eventual goal for the U.S.