In­come in­jec­tion or headache-caus­ing has­sle?

U.S. health-care re­forms could mean big op­por­tu­ni­ties but also more com­pli­ca­tions for lo­cal com­pa­nies

Ottawa Business Journal - Techopia - - Roundtable - BY KRYS­TLE CHOW

It’s of­ten stated the U.S. mar­ket is con­sid­er­ably larger than Canada’s, and that its prox­im­ity makes it an ob­vi­ous fo­cus for Ottawa firms – some­times even more so than the Cana­dian mar­ket.

That’s es­pe­cially true for many lo­cal tech­nol­ogy com­pa­nies, of course. And with the cur­rent rum­blings of ma­jor re­forms for the U.S. health-care sys­tem, some firms in the Na­tional Cap­i­tal Re­gion are gear­ing up to take ad­van­tage.

“( The U.S.) is try­ing to mir­ror the good­ness of the Cana­dian health-care sys­tem … and with the em­pha­sis on home­land spending, there will be a fo­cus on U.S. and Cana­dian leads for sure,” says Gary Han­nah, CEO of Vo­can­tas Inc., which pro­vides in­ter­ac­tive au­to­mated tele­phone sys­tems that fol­low up on pa­tients at home.

Vo­can­tas’s pres­ence in the U.S. is still very small: it cur­rently has two sys­tems cur­rently in­stalled in the coun­try, with six beta sites fo­cused on home health care for geri­atric pa­tients in the Illi­nois and Utah ar­eas.

But Mr. Han­nah es­ti­mates it could be a large haul if lo­cal com­pa­nies can reach the mas­sive mar­ket south of the bor­der.

Also vice-chair of OCRI, Mr. Han­nah says Ottawa-based re­search is a player in the push to re­vamp the U.S. sys­tem. Spe­cial em­pha­sis has been placed on tech­nol­ogy such as Vo­can­tas’s that pur­port to help health-care providers save money, he adds.

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