Written by: Michelle Gomez, Staff Writer
SFU VentureLabs start-up Medimap has been awarded third place in 2018 Innovate BC-New Ventures Competition, with a prize of $35,000. The annual competition, run by non-for-profit organization New Ventures BC, is open to early-stage startups and aims to support innovation in BC.
Medimap is an app that lets users check wait times at nearby walk-in clinics and add their names to a waitlist remotely. Clinics must opt in to be listed on the app, and they must have staff updating the wait times often. Users are able to see the most recent wait times posted as well as the time of update.
In turn, users of the app may wait from wherever they are and spend less time in clinic waiting rooms. According to Medimaps’ BC New Ventures company profile, there is often uncertainty around walk-in clinic availability and wait times. Patients looking to circumvent wait times may seek medical aid from emergency departments unnecessarily or decide not to seek medical aid at all.
Not only does Medimap make it easier for people to receive care, but by giving users access to wait-time information, it can allocate patients across local clinics more evenly and efficiently. According to a New Ventures BC email press release, Medimap aims to reduce wait times at walk-in clinics by more than 50%.
“[Medimaps] is an entry point into the primary care system for patients that need access to care,” said CEO Blake Adams in a phone interview with The Peak. He explained that he and co-founder Jonathan Clark “wanted to make it really easy for people to get access to care when they need it. We are trying to give people the information and tools they need to save time.”
Medimap is one of the many Vancouver-based start-ups that have taken advantage of SFU VentureLabs, a technology business accelerator program located in Harbour Center. VentureLab’s website states their mission as “scal[ing]-up world-class technology companies by powering up these ventures with amazing talent, technologies, entrepreneurial expertise, research capacity, access to capital, government. assistance programs and international market expansion opportunities.”
Adams found working with VentureLabs to be a great partnership. “They’ve been super supportive and it’s a great opportunity to work alongside other innovative startup companies. They provide a lot of mentorship as well as connections within the industry,” he said. He also noted that working out of the Harbour Center office space allows them to network and collaborate with other tech start-ups.
Currently, Medimap includes clinics from across B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, and Ontario, but they hope to expand their reach across Canada. Adams explained that in the future, they will focus on building up both sides of the user base, meaning the patients as well as the clinics.
“We are now focused on expanding our presence across Canada and working toward the goal of ubiquity in the walk-in clinic industry,” said Adams. From there, they will focus on looking at what other services they can provide for patients in need of care.