By Julia Grabowska
OpenCare.com, a Toronto tech start up, is working to help make health care in Ontario more accessible and efficient.
The online database aims to connect patients with health providers in their communities, and allows them to view appointment availabilities and book appointments.
Nikolai Bratkovski, founder of the Toronto-based company, said the initial idea for the business came out of his personal experiences.
“I spent my whole career in health, but it got to a point where I needed a new dentist, massage therapist and family doctor and I ran into problems that I couldn’t solve, it was a frustrating experience,” Bratkovski said. “So I decided to solve my own problem, that happened to be a problem for many other people in the country.”
The website connects patients to the providers by simply entering the city or postal code in which they are located.
“Right now we are focused on OHIP health providers so that would be dentists, physiotherapists, optometrists, and many more specialties and we’re planning to add OHIP paid providers like family doctors down the road,” Bratkovski added. “We have over 7000 professionals ready on the platform in Ontario and we are growing rapidly with about 1000 providers every month.”
According to Health Quality Ontario, about 850,000 people in Ontario did not family doctors in 2011, which is a pressing problem.
Helena Pekacka, a registered nurse who works in the GTA, said that patients do have trouble seeking available providers and end up turning to services such as walk-in clinics.
“OpenCare will be a great help for the public. I hope they get family doctors onto the database soon, because the problem of looking for one does exist. Patients end up crawling from walk-in doctor to the next, which can become a problem when it comes to keeping patient history files in one place,” Pekacka said.
Bratkovski said that most of providers on the website are in Ontario, but he plans to expand into two other provinces in the beginning of 2014 and also the United States.