In a remote part of Northern Ontario, a patient shows up at a hospital with symptoms that mystify the doctors.
After getting images from a CAT-scan, as well as blood work and other tests, doctors need to consult with a specialist in Toronto. Fortunately, that specialist is just a few mouse clicks away, thanks to software solutions from Karos Health Inc., a growing Waterloo company that makes it easy for doctors to share information and collaborate, no matter where they are. The best idea is to “move the data, not the patient” whenever possible, says Karos president and founder Rick Stroobosscher. If the patient does need to be moved, the entire medical file, including images, notes and lab results, should instantly be at the disposal of the team at the next facility, he adds.
Stroobosscher founded Karos Health in 2006, launching it from his own home. He previously worked for nine years at Mitra Imaging, a medical information technology company based in Waterloo that was acquired in 2002 by Belgium-based Agfa-Gevaert Group and renamed Agfa Healthcare. Mitra was an early player in the technology used to store, archive and display radiology data and other clinical images electronically, and connect all of that to the rest of a hospital’s information system. After Mitra, Stroobosscher began to think about the next step — how to better enable health-care providers to work together not just within a hospital, but “across a city, a province, a state or even countries.”
That led to Karos, which initially moved into the Accelerator Centre in Waterloo and now is located in office space on Father David Bauer Drive. In August, Karos acquired its first company, Medical Insight based in Copenhagen, Denmark, a move that gives the company “a fantastic base to work from in Europe,” as well as complementary technology, Stroobosscher says. Karos now employs 50 people, including 30 in North America, mostly at the offices in Waterloo, but also in the United States, as well as 20 in Europe.
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