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Courtney Cole: Charting new pathways

We’ve only just begun

Forahealthyme is a Canadian company which develops telehealth and tele-rehab solutions for healthcare professionals enabling them to diagnose, treat and manage patients without having to be in the same room, not even the same country.

Nearly ten years ago when Forahealthyme was launched, its principals could not have imagined a global pandemic that would dramatically reduce face-to-face treatment and increase demand for remote options.

Understandably, Forahealthyme has been regularly celebrated for its foresight and innovation in using digital technology to develop applications that lower costs and provide better outcomes and patient satisfaction.

The company works across multiple treatment areas. These include musculoskeletal, neurology, spinal cord injury, mental health and cardiology with engagements in Canada, US, Asia, and Europe.

Courtney Cole, a Jamaican native is the founder of Forahealthyme. He parlayed his skills as a communication practitioner into becoming a leader in the advancement of digital health services in his adopted homeland.

Courtney Cole Founder/CEO at ForaHealthyMe Inc.

“It’s been a long, arduous and incredible journey,” said Mr. Cole when asked about his proudest moment in these ten years.

“Specifically, we’ve been able to provide a lot of help for patients with spinal cord injury. The arrival of COVID-19 posed a new challenge for Spinal Cord Injury Ontario (SCIO) employees and support workers. Suddenly, accessing a client’s home presented new risks to patients and frontline workers, seeing as patients with spinal cord injury are more prone to infections due to their compromised immune systems.”

A former executive of Desnoes & Geddes, on migration to Canada, Mr. Cole worked with Johnson & Johnson and later Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), a company that developed semi-conductor chips and computer graphic cards.

At Johnson & Johnson his interactions with patients and clinicians helped to cement ideas on how technology could be used to improve patient care. While at AMD, Mr. Cole came under the influence of Adrian Hartog, then Chief Technology Officer, who convinced him that he could apply his skills to new areas.

He reeled off a number of exciting projects his company has successfully completed. For example, in 2017, Forahealthyme collaborated with the Toronto Rehab Institute, University of Toronto, and Spinal Cord Injury Ontario (SCIO) to develop an application to address gaps in caring for patients with spinal cord injury.

Courtney Cole (left) and Dr. Stuart Howe, CEO Spinal Cord Injury Ontario, SCIO

“We were able to implement the solution quickly to empower these patients and their caregivers to self-manage, connect remotely, and communicate with their care teams and access education,” he explained.

The company was featured in a ‘Partners in Tribute’ video during Microsoft Canada’s Awards Celebration at Microsoft Inspire 2020. The video showcased how Canadians and partners in healthcare, and other sectors, responded to the challenges of COVID-19.

How does the future look? we asked Mr. Cole. “We’ve only just begun,” he said as he explained his company’s focus on developing artificial intelligence-enabled solutions to enhance care delivery for patients with musculoskeletal, neurological, and cognitive impairment issues.

He continued, “Our work is aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, specifically in ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being for all ages. So, we have only just begun. There is still a significant amount of work to be done.”

Research and development is at the heart of the solutions designed by Forahealthyme. But as we know too well, R&D is expensive and takes time.

The market is inundated with health applications, however, Forahealthyme, believes it stands out because of its comprehensive care approach. For example, they have worked with researchers at the Neuromechanics Lab at York University to validate their kinematics motion capture solution. The company achieved Quadruple Aim standard which added new opportunities and authenticity to the brand.

“To date, we have received multiple innovation grants and funding from the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario. Our partners like Microsoft have also supported us with research, development, and technology licensing. Our partners include the National Research Council of Canada, the Ontario Centers of Innovation, Southlake Regional Health Center, York University and the Center for Addiction and Mental Health.”

Mr. Cole said 2021 will see his team concentrating on research with a view to designing digital therapy and tele-rehabilitation options for treatment of Alzheimer’s and other cognitive diseases such as Dementia.

“We are working to optimize our applications with greater image processing capabilities. This includes embedding brain imaging capabilities to complement existing tools such as neurological conditions detection and cognitive evaluation to enable onsite and remote comprehensive assessments,” he explained.

Is there any chance of collaboration between Forahealthyme and the University of the West Indies health system? After all is said and done, Mr. Cole is a proud UWI graduate.

“I would jump at the opportunity,” he declared.

“The greatest resource any nation has is its people. Without a healthy and educated population, sustained economic growth is not possible. When there is sustained growth, people get lifted out of poverty.

 “I see no reason why we can’t build better health systems and deliver better services to increase life expectancy and quality of life. Under the right circumstances, we humans thrive and are capable of incredible things.”

1 Comment

  • Kay Osborne

    Jamaicans like Mr Cole just need an opportunity to innovate and contribute to the world. May his success be sustained and bring increasing value to those who need it. It is so unfortunate that the vast majority of what is called ordinary Jamaicans are locked out of such opportunities in our homeland, Jamaica, and can only access and create viable opportunities elsewhere. Thanks to Ms. Wyvolyn Gager, who discovers, researches and regularly shares these success stories, providing us with opportunities to celebrate our people when such celebrations are sorely needed.

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