WELL Health Announces Flu Surveillance Partnership with McMaster University and the Public Health Agency of Canada
- McMaster University partners with WELL to launch “FAST”, the innovative “Flu Automated Surveillance Tool” for FluWatch, a program of the Public Health Agency of Canada or “PHAC”
- FAST is unique due to its ability to provide PHAC with real-time identification of patients with flu-like symptoms without sharing of any patient health data, enabling PHAC to act more quickly to emerging risks of outbreaks
- FAST is fully compatible with OSCAR. WELL plans to deploy FAST to a number of its Ontario clinics within the next three months.
Vancouver, BC, March 10, 2020 - WELL Health Technologies Corp. (TSX: WELL) (the “Company” or “WELL”), a company focused on consolidating and modernizing clinical and digital assets within the primary healthcare sector, is pleased to announce it has partnered with McMaster University (“McMaster”) and the Public Health Agency of Canada (“PHAC”) to introduce the digitization of the sentinel surveillance program of FluWatch, a program administered by PHAC to monitor the spread of the flu and other flu-like illnesses in the community. The FluWatch surveillance system has been in place for over two decades; however, the new “Flu Automated Surveillance Tool” or “FAST” facilitates real-time surveillance of patients presenting flu-like symptoms and automated reporting of results to PHAC to enable better assessment and decision-making, resulting in more timely results and better health outcomes for all. FAST was developed by McMaster’s Department of Family Medicine, and has been clinically proven as effective in capturing an accurate picture of the actual incidence of flu in a surveillance region.
“FAST can be adapted easily to increase the frequency of surveillance at any time, or to extend surveillance to other areas of concern such as COVID-19”, said Dr. David Price, Professor and Chair of McMaster’s Department of Family Medicine. “It also electronically connects a virtual network of surveillance sentinels led by the Public Health Agency of Canada, making it possible to communicate and implement changes to surveillance across the network within less than a 24-hour period if necessary.”
“Our networks of paediatricians and family doctors are essential to surveillance. They are the front line of primary care and are often the first to detect new or unexpected patterns of illness that alert us to a potential problem,” said Dr. Theresa Tam, Chief Public Health Officer of Canada. “By working with partners to build tools like this, we can better support physician reporting and improve future surveillance of influenza-like illness.”
McMaster is partnering with WELL Health Technologies to make FAST available to OSCAR users in Ontario in the coming weeks, and to OSCAR users outside of Ontario commencing in 2021. FAST removes all of the manual work of sentinel flu surveillance and gets the information from medical clinics to public health officials more quickly, without sharing any identifying patient information.
“This collaboration exemplifies the commitment that both McMaster and WELL have to improving health systems and outcomes for all through the creation and deployment of innovative health technologies,” said Hamed Shahbazi, Chairman and CEO of WELL. “A digitized and automated FluWatch system that can track where people are experiencing flu-like symptoms is necessary in order to be pro-active in taking steps to prevent or contain outbreaks.”
WELL HEALTH TECHNOLOGIES CORP.
Per: “Hamed Shahbazi”
Chief Executive Officer, Chairman and Director
WELL is a unique company that operates Primary Healthcare Facilities as well as a significant EMR or Electronic Medical Records business that supports the digitization of such clinics. WELL owns and operates 20 medical clinics, is a majority owner of SleepWorks Medical and provides digital Electronic Medical Records (EMR) software and services to 1,446 medical clinics across Canada. WELL's overarching objective is to empower doctors to provide the best and most advanced care possible while leveraging the latest trends in digital health. WELL is publicly traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol "WELL.T". WELL was recognized as a TSX Venture 50 Company in 2018, 2019 and 2020.
About McMaster University Department of Family Medicine
McMaster University is committed to creating a brighter world through its teaching, research and community engagement that enhances societal health and well-being. Through its Department of Family Medicine, in collaboration with the OSCAR community, McMaster’s leadership in OSCAR’s continuing evolution is contributing to that brighter world as it enables improved health and health system outcomes at home and around the world.
This news release may contain "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of applicable Canadian securities laws. Forward-looking statements are necessarily based upon a number of estimates and assumptions that, while considered reasonable by management, are inherently subject to significant business, economic and competitive uncertainties, and contingencies. Forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause future results, performance or achievements to be materially different from the estimated future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by those forward-looking statements and the forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance. WELL’s statements expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements are subject to a number of risks, uncertainties, and conditions, many of which are outside of WELL 's control, and undue reliance should not be placed on such statements. Except as required by securities law, WELL does not assume any obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, events or otherwise.
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For further information:
Pardeep S. Sangha
VP Corporate Strategy and Investor Relations
Executive Director, McMaster University Department of Family Medicine