Unified Health launches its pilot clinic in Canada
Canada is presently undergoing a significant shortage of GP’s and medical professionals, leading to ongoing pressures within its healthcare system. Close to 60,000 citizens lack a family doctor within Nova Scotia, leading acute care teams and medical facilities to be under constant strain.
Launching a pilot clinic in Halifax, private healthcare company Unified Health has sought to fill the gap within the public sector, causing consternation amongst the healthcare community and the citizens which look towards it for answers.
Named the Unified Health Community Triage Centre, the facility offers non-emergency care services for a fee, enabling local citizens to see a nurse practitioner for CAN$35 for a 15-minute appointment, or access services in areas such as mental health counselling, osteopathy, somatic coaching and more.
On the company’s website, Unified Health has stated that it solely aims to "alleviate the bottleneck of patients in emergency rooms and hospitals by directing them to the right practitioners for their specific needs."
Additionally, Unified Health has recently stated its ambitions to further expand across the province, first in Bedford and Cape Breton, and has partnered with health and wellness clinic Ohana to increasingly support patients who utilise its services.
However, as its services are not covered by the publicly funded healthcare system, concerns have been raised by the medical community, noting that the country could be opening itself up to a two-tiered system, similar to that of the US.
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"This clinic is a symptom that the public system must be fixed so that Nova Scotians have better access to primary care services," commented Kevin Chapman, Director Health Policy & Economics at Doctors Nova Scotia
"Physicians are governed by the college of physicians and surgeons, the Nova Scotia Health Authority is responsible for delivering care across the province in its facilities. We don't have an understanding of what that oversight [for the clinic] might be.
"At the end of day, we certainly see this clinic trying to provide services that are needed. Access to primary care is a challenge in Nova Scotia, but our focus would be on strengthening the public system, rather than trying to concurrently put a private system in place.”
"A person could fairly conclude that the emergence of a private, for-profit clinic providing a service that is supposed to be provided in Nova Scotia free indicates that the job the government is doing on providing health care is missing the mark at a pretty basic level,” added Nova Scotia New Democratic Party leader Gary Burrill.
Rhys Bevan-John, Unified Health's Chief Culture Officer and somatic coach, has responded to the ongoing concerns, understanding that the centre is set to polarise opinion.
"We're doing this thing that looks nefarious, and we're in total agreeance that this looks totally nefarious, and we don't want to be nefarious. We want health care to be free for everyone," he says.
"In the fullness of time, it is my heartfelt intention with this company to make it publicly funded, to make it free."
Check Point: Securing the future of enterprise IT
Cybersecurity solutions provider Check Point was founded in 1993 with a mission to secure ‘everything,’ and that includes the cloud. Conscious that nothing remains static in the digital world, the company prides itself on an ability to integrate new technology with its solutions. Across almost three decades in operation, Check Point, with its team of over 3,500 experts, has become adept at protecting networks, endpoints, mobile, IoT, and cloud.
“The pandemic has been somewhat of an accelerator in the evolution of cyber risk,” explains Erez Yarkoni, Global VP for Cloud Business. “We had remote workers and cloud adoption a long time beforehand, but now the volume and surface area is far greater.” Formerly a CIO for several big-name telcos before joining Check Point in 2019, Yarkoni considers the cloud to be “part of [his] heritage” and one of modern IT’s most valuable tools.
Check Point has three important ‘product families’, Quantum, CloudGuard, and Harmony, with each one providing another layer of holistic IT protection:
- Quantum: secures enterprise networks from sophisticated cyber attacks
- CloudGuard: acts as a scalable and unified cloud-native security platform for the protection of any cloud
- Harmony: protects remote users and devices from cyber threats that might compromise organisational data
However, more than just providing security, Yarkoni emphasises the need for software to be proactive and minimise the possibility of threats in the first instance. This is something Check Point assuredly delivers, “the industry recognises that preventing, not just detecting, is crucial. Check Point has one platform that gives customers the end-to-end cover they need; they don't have to go anywhere else. That level of threat prevention capability is core to our DNA and across all three product lines.”
In many ways, Check Point’s solutions’ capabilities have actually converged to meet the exact working requirements of contemporary enterprise IT. As more companies embark on their own digital transformation journeys in the wake of COVID-19, the inevitability of unforeseen threats increases, which also makes forming security-based partnerships essential. Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan (HOOPP) sought out Check Point for this very reason when it was in the process of selecting Microsoft Azure as its cloud provider. “Let's be clear: Azure is a secure cloud, but when you operate in a cloud you need several layers of security and governance to prevent mistakes from becoming risks,” Yarkoni clarifies.
The partnership is a distinctly three-way split, with each bringing its own core expertise and competencies. More than that, Check Point, HOOPP and Microsoft are all invested in deepening their understanding of each other at an engineering and developmental level. “Both of our organisations (Check Point and Microsoft) are customer-obsessed: we look at the problem from the eyes of the customer and ask, ‘Are we creating value?’” That kind of focus is proving to be invaluable in the digital era, when the challenges and threats of tomorrow remain unpredictable. In this climate, only the best protected will survive and Check Point is standing by, ready to help.
“HOOPP is an amazing organisation,” concludes Yarkoni. “For us to be successful with a customer and be selected as a partner is actually a badge of honor. It says, ‘We passed a very intense and in-depth inspection by very smart people,’ and for me that’s the best thing about working with organisations like HOOPP.”