The six-month program will evaluate whether the province should partner with Virtual Hallway on a longer-term basis, as the government looks to the innovation economy for ways to help Nova Scotia’s struggling healthcare system. The Innovation Hub is working with the health authority’s internal medicine and gastroenterology teams to evaluate Virtual Hallway’s performance.
In a statement, Nova Scotia Health said general practitioners can usually book consults with specialist doctors within a day or two.
“(Virtual Hallway)’s been a game-changer in my large family medicine practice,” said Dr. Elena Swift, a Bedford-based physician in a press release. “I receive quick support from a variety of wonderful specialists on a platform that is very easy to access. It has helped me better care for patients with complicated health issues.”
Doctors Luke Napier, Daniel Rasic and Jacob Cookey started Virtual Hallway in 2019 because they were struggling to schedule and document the phone consults they were performing. Justin Hartlen, the former head of Covina Biomedical, joined as CEO in February of this year.
Initially launched as an online spreadsheet for physicians to book phone consults with specialists who had posted information about their availability, the current version of the service offers the same functionality in a more user-friendly package. The specialist also writes a consult report that is shared with the primary care doctor, and the process of billing the provincial government is automated.
The company has 16 employees, including its founders, and is active in Nova Scotia, Ontario, Saskatchewan, and as of April, Alberta. Hartlen previously said he foresees Nova Scotia being a proving ground for the platform, helping his team establish the track record they will need for larger markets.
Last year, the company raised a round of pre-seed funding, and Hartlen hopes to raise another $1.5 million by the end of 2022.