Rohit Joshi is chief executive officer at Brightsquid.
What is Brightsquid and how did it start?
Joshi: Brightsquid Secure Communications Corp. is a Calgary-based communications software company that has developed technology to transfer patient information between doctors and between doctors and their patients. Clinics that use Brightsquid Secure Mail see improved patient safety and a reduction in wait times for patients.
Brightsquid began nine years ago when Dr. Deepak Kaura, chief radiologist at Alberta Children’s Hospital, was working to diagnose an infant with a complicated set of needs. He wanted to get the opinion of other radiologists in North America and time was of the essence. His only way to safely share diagnostic information was to burn the image to a DVD and courier it to his colleagues, a process that would take too long to help save the life of his patient.
He was discussing this challenge with his friend, Rohit Joshi, a lawyer, tech entrepreneur, and local Albertan. They knew that to improve patient care they would have to improve clinical communications. Brightsquid Secure-Mail was born.
Mark Maier, another local entrepreneur saw the application of the same technology in the dental market, broadening the opportunity for Brightsquid.
Brightsquid was built to serve an urgent need in our public health-care system. Canadian health-care continues to rely on fax machines, phones and couriers. Continued use of fax machines pose the risk of private information being shared with the wrong people, and – in the most acute situations – specialists not getting the information they need to properly treat a patient in a timely fashion. Wait times extend and costs rise.
The development of a secure email service that met all of the compliance regulations for patient privacy was the service we knew we could build and would have an immediate and significant, positive impact on patient outcomes.
What were the biggest challenges in starting the new business?
Joshi: Our biggest challenges were similar to any other startup. We were looking for the funding we needed to execute on our mandate and partners that believed in our vision and could see the immediate need for a service like secure mail in the Canadian health-care sector.
We were lucky enough to attract partners and investors who were not only passionate about improved patient care but were willing to invest in our growth.
Can you give me a sense of how much business you do now?
Joshi: Brightsquid has 111,624 users and 19 employees. Our growth rate steadily climbs at 2.75 per cent per month or 38 per cent per year. We operate in Canada and the U.S., with some users from the European Union also using our service.
Why is this a concept that’s important today?
Joshi: Canada’s health-care system continues to be reliant on the outdated fax machine, a tool that has become obsolete in every other sector. Continued use of fax machines results in lost patient data and uncertainty as to whether faxes have been transmitted or received, resulting in significant threats to patient privacy and patient health.
Multiple cases where the use of the fax machine has contributed to patient death have been documented in Alberta.
However, solutions like a secure email tool exist in the market and can be safely and easily implemented. In clinics, Brightsquid Secure-Mail showed a 92 per cent reduction in response times, reduced referral request wait times from six to eight weeks to three to five days and a 94 per cent reduction in wait times for patients waiting to see a specialist.
As Canada’s population continues to age and as our health-care system continues to slow down under the weight of demand, we believe that technological innovations like Brightsquid will protect the viability of healthcare for Canadians by reducing cost and increasing access.
What is the plan for the company?
Joshi: Our goal is to support continued improvement in the Canadian public health-care system. With the help of secure-mail clinics and health facilities, we can improve care co-ordination and decrease wait times, ultimately improving patient care in Canada.
– Mario Toneguzzi