Charting a new path for medical records

James Bateman and Derrick Chow, founders of MedChart.

Accessing medical records for a sick family member or yourself can be a time-consuming and expensive process. Despite efforts to move all patient records to electronic formats, more than half of medical information still exists only on paper, often in many different doctors’ offices and institutions, with high copying fees.

James Bateman (EngSci 1T3, ECE PhD candidate) and Derrick Chow (EngSci 1T3, AeroE MASc 1T6) are using their engineering expertise to make it easier for patients and their circles of care to access their entire medical record electronically all in one place. Their start-up, MedChart, provides users with a one-stop shop for record retrieval. The fast-growing company is featured on the cover of the current issue of Canadian Healthcare Technology magazine.

MedChart’s system can handle a high volume of records by automating much of the data request and handling process, with efficient interoperability between e-health systems. “We use leading-edge optical character recognition techniques to extract data from all your records, including the handwritten paper records, and then run deep learning algorithms to populate a user-friendly dashboard filled with your pertinent health information and predictive health insights,” says Bateman.

The idea for MedChart came in 2013 after Bateman saw first-hand the difficulty of accessing medical records when members of his family became seriously ill. He and Chow already had a long-standing habit of collaboration. “James and I met in first year EngSci and used to talk about ideas while commuting by GO train together,” says Chow. “When the MedChart idea hit, we made use of the great programming training from EngSci to develop a prototype and then took it to the world with great support from U of T’s entrepreneurship community.”

Since 2014, the team has won funding through the U of T Entrepreneurship Hatchery and Start@UTIAS, an incubator program created by a donation from entrepreneur and alumnus Francis Shen (EngSci 8T1, MASc UTIAS 8T3).

To learn more about other start-ups at U of T, visit the Entrepreneurship Hatchery.

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