Burnaby-based Cortico Health is taking admin pains out of healthcare

The tech startup is looking to make medical services more accessible to people in Canada.

Credit: Cortico Health

The tech startup is looking to make medical services more accessible

For patients across Canada, accessing medical services has become a nightmare in the wake of COVID-19. Hospitals are overwhelmed, medical staff are stretched thin and patients are left in limbo, unsure whether they’ll receive the care that they need. 

Angel investor and social impact entrepreneur Alfred Wong sees this as an urgent social issue in need of immediate attention. Ever since the Vancouverite graduated with a bachelor of commerce from UBC, he developed a passion for helping to scale social impact companies. After a number of entrepreneurial stints and some experience working in the investment banking field, Wong became an early seed investor in Burnaby-based Cortico Health, a startup looking to automate administrative tasks for clinics and healthcare practitioners across Canada. The company started off as a software project for Kensington Medical Clinic in 2015 but officially launched in 2020 to serve more caregivers in its area, and that’s also when Wong stepped up as its chief operating officer. 

“The last two years have been really important for us to demonstrate that technology is key in helping doctors be more efficient,” he says. Cortico’s software is used by several hundred medical clinics across Canada and is currently serving over 1,500 healthcare providers.

But even though it’s generally understood that innovation can make a big difference when it comes to delivering care, Wong points out that healthcare technology uptake was very slow prior to the pandemic. “A recently issued report looking at the amount of time that doctors spend on unnecessary administrative tasks [found that] simply reducing [those tasks] by 10 percent gives doctors the ability to see five and a half million more patients a year,” he says.  

As clinics increasingly adapted to offer telehealth services, things like online bookings, patient messaging and email reminders became a time-consuming problem. And while Wong recognizes that various tech companies did step up to address the challenge, he also notes that many of them are no longer in business.  

“Prior technology implementations—they weren’t really thought through,” he says. Most companies looking to modernize healthcare require people to open an account to connect with a clinic, which is often a major problem for geriatric patients in Canada. 

“In our case, because we’ve had that experience working with clinics and senior citizens throughout our development cycle, we’ve simply been able to rely on getting the patient’s health card number to verify their status with the clinic itself,” he adds.  

In the coming months, Wong is excited for large entities like hospitals to be onboarded onto Cortico’s platform. Just over the last 30 days, the company has booked 83,000 appointments and facilitated 21,000 new registrations for patients in Canada. 

“We’re driven off by our doctors telling us how easy it is to use the system and then from patients telling us how easy it is for people to access health care,” he says. “We would characterize ourselves as small, but the impact that we’re collectively making is really important.”