8 Vancouver digital health leaders to watch

Eight people and companies pushing the digital health revolution forward.

Nearly a year ago, a local tech investor told me that COVID had enabled digital health to take a great leap forward. “I would say we’ve moved more in two months than probably in the last four to five years,” he explained.

As new digital health tools are deployed at an accelerating pace, questions about their ultimate impact on patients, services and the business of health care are also being raised. What will personalized medicine look like in five years (and beyond)? What opportunities exist for established and start-up companies (and the investors that back them)? How can we re-imagine public health with new tools that include remote patient and worker monitoring and other digital biomarkers?

To answer those questions and more, on Tuesday, May 18, the Vancouver Entrepreneurs Forum is hosting a discussion on Trends in Digital Health, organized by New Ventures BC, with CIBC Innovation Banking’s Joe Timlin as emcee and Fasken’s Jonathan Conlin as the event moderator.

The virtual event will feature eight people and companies at the forefront of the global digital health revolution. Here they are.

Trends in Digital Health Event Panelists

Rich Osborn, Managing Partner, Telus Ventures

Telus Ventures is the strategic investment arm of Telus Corp and one of Canada’s most active venture capital funds.

Led by veteran investor Rich Osborn, the fund makes strategic investments in high–growth market opportunities that leverage and complement Telus’ network and capabilities, including products and solutions that can be used or re-sold by Telus or expansions into new markets and technology directions.

Since 2001, the firm has made more than 75 investments in the areas of connected consumer, security, Internet of Things, and of course, digital health.

Telus Ventures recently led a $30 million Series B round of funding in Vancouver-based PocketPills, a rapidly growing medication delivery startup.

Laurent Pelissier, CEO, Clarius Mobile Health

Clarius Mobile Health has developed a wireless handheld ultrasound scanner used by more than 20,000 clinicians. The company was founded to enable medical professionals globally to access medical imaging, and in turn, improve patient care and reduce healthcare costs.

“We had three clear goals when we set out to develop Clarius: to deliver an ultra-portable system for medical professionals that does not compromise on image quality; to remove the cords that get in the way, and to make sure the Clarius App offers the flexibility to work reliably with both iOS and Android smart devices," said Clarius CEO, Laurent Pelissier.

Recently, the company partnered with the Digital Technology Supercluster to develop technology for doctors that combines machine learning, handheld ultrasound devices and a cloud-based platform to create an integrated and intelligent point-of-care ultrasound network. The goal is to deliver faster, more accurate diagnoses to patients in rural, remote and urban areas. 

Maryam Sadeghi, CEO, MetaOptima

MetaOptima was founded in 2012 by CEO Maryam Sadeghi and CTO Majid Razmara to transform the dermatology and skin care industry with advanced and intelligent tools.

Today, the company is known for two core products. First, they developed MoleScope, which is an attachment that can turn a smartphone into an imaging tool to spot melanoma. Second, they developed DermEngine, an advanced data platform for imaging, analyzing and documenting skin conditions.

Similar to Clarius, the company was recently featured as a key collaborator in a Supercluster project to develop an AI-powered medical imaging network to connect all points of care for patients who may be dealing with skin cancer. Partners in the project include Change Healthcare, BC Cancer, Careteam Technologies, Providence Health Care, University of Victoria and the University of British Columbia.

Bryan Statham, Co-Founder & CEO, LifeBooster

LifeBooster is an advanced connected worker platform meant to assess injury risks in the workplace.

The company developed sensors that read worker signals and enable companies to monitor situations where labourers may be at high risk of strain injuries and other musculoskeletal afflictions. The company’s technology conducts assessments simultaneously zeroing on things like labourer motions, body ambient temperature, sustained awkward postures, and hand/arm vibration.

In the past, Statham has noted that LifeBooster’s system is aimed at the oil and gas, construction and mining industries but can be deployed by any organization that uses manual labour. Case in point: Some of the company’s most notable current clients include GE, Delta Airlines, and Zurich Insurance.

Trends in Digital Health Lightning Pitches

Richard Sztramko, Co-Founder, Arya Health

Arya is a Vancouver-based startup that produces clinical, enterprise software solutions (EHRs) for Canadian physicians and allied health professionals.

David Kim, CEO, Difinity Solutions

Difinity is creating a universal medication injector to improve patient outcomes in emergency situations such as overdose, cardiac arrest, or anaphylaxis.

Peder Sande, CEO, ORX

ORX has developed a streamlined and automated purchase order system and aims to be the connection between medical device companies and hospitals by reinventing how surgical scheduling, inventory and billing get done.

Hillary Pierce, Total Flow Cannula

Total Flow Cannula is providing surgeons with a tool to prevent leg ischemia in heart-lung bypass patients.

Register for the Trends in Digital Health event at vef.org.