2021 was a big year for Akinox. Learn the highlights, from continuing the technological fight against the COVID-19 pandemic to supporting the Québec government’s technological support for children through the Agir tôt Program and beyond.
1. Continuing the Technological Fight Against the COVID-19 Pandemic
Since 2020 and the arrival of COVID-19 in Québec, Akinox has been collaborating technologically with the Québec government in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2021, as the pandemic enters its second year, Akinox has continued to work with the Government of Québec, the Ministry of Health and Social Services and Public Health to design and deliver many innovative technology solutions such as:
- Production of proof of vaccination, including:
- Integration of positive test results to determine adequately protected status
- Proof in standard federal format
- Proof in a compact and convenient provincial format (business card size)
- QR codes for proof of vaccination
- The accessible and easy-to-use self-service portal for downloading digital proof of vaccination.
- The 1st general public mobile applications from the Department of Health and Human Services for the vaccine passport namely:
- VaxiCode which is intended for the citizen. The application allows you to save and file your and your family’s proof of vaccination QR code in an electronic wallet for easy presentation to merchants. The application has been the number one application in the Canadian app stores (Apple and Google) for several weeks beating Facebook, TikTok, etc.
- VaxiCode Verify which is designed for merchants. The application allows users to scan the QR code for proof of vaccination, quickly interpret its content and confirm a person’s vaccination status.
- Improving the pandemic tracking tool for public health departments. This tool includes the ability to:
- Facilitate the detection and monitoring of hatching environments
- Automate contact tracking
- Manage multiple disease episodes
- Manage variants
- Facilitate the follow-up of rapid tests in schools
All these solutions were developed with an infrastructure activated in Québec in the context of an unprecedented pandemic in which the level of urgency was very high and the ability to react and adapt had to be strong. Our teams have done a tremendous job of delivering these solutions as quickly as possible to continue to put technology to work in the fight against the pandemic.
2. New Collaborations in Canada and Akinox as an International Pioneer
The year 2021 also marks Akinox’s expansion into other Canadian provinces. Indeed, following the success of the digital proof of vaccination for the Québec government where more than 7 million people have received their verifiable vaccination certificate thanks to the solution, which represents 98.8% of fully vaccinated people, and where more than 40 million proofs are verified per month, it is now the turn of Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and Labrador to use the technology developed by Akinox. As a result, Akinox has contributed to the SK Vax Verifier applications for the province of Saskatchewan and the NLVaxPass and NLVaxPassVerify for Newfoundland and Labrador. These collaborations have been very successful and have earned Akinox great recognition.
“Thanks to you and your team for delivering a great product in a very short time frame. You have been true professionals and good collaborators throughout the process and are incredibly agile and innovative.”
Dave Heffernan, Associate Deputy Minister, Digital Government Chief Information Officer, NL
“Using Saskatchewan’s Vax Verifier app is a quick and easy way for businesses and organizations to determine if a client is adequately vaccinated against provincial criteria.”
Paul Merriman, Minister of Health, Saskatchewan
Also of note, Akinox was the first high-volume issuer of SMART Health Card (SHC) open-format proofs of vaccination on the international stage with more than 5.7 million issued as of June 2021 while other issuers were at less than 1 million, as well as the first SHC issuer to include exemptions and recognition of COVID-19 recovery proofs (positive tests) as a factor considered for the level of protection.
Also, in 2021, Akinox developed the first apps for home use in America to recognize digital proof of vaccination in SHC and EU-DDC (the European Union’s digital COVID certificates) formats. It is a total of more than 56 countries whose proofs of vaccination are supported by the solution, including Canada, the United States, the European Union (France, Spain, United Kingdom), Israel and Panama…
Finally, through its leadership and innovation, Akinox has been actively collaborating in 2021 with international organizations such as VCI and NASEM, at the forefront of improving and harmonizing standards of proof of vaccination against COVID-19 globally.
3. The Québec Government’s Technological Support for Children through the Agir tôt Program
The goal of the Agir tôt program is to identify developmental challenges in children aged 0-5 years as early as possible. Already deployed in 24 institutions in Québec, the technological platform has enabled more than 170 health professionals:
- Initiate over 5,500 outreach screening rounds
- Assign over 25,500 questionnaires to respondents
- Support professionals in their analysis of the results of the questionnaires
- Refer more than 3,600 clients to services and provide them and their families with the intervention they need.
The respondent portal was developed for the population to answer the questionnaires assigned to them. This portal has been designed to be accessible, very user-friendly and easy to use. It has already enabled more than 7,000 respondents to complete questionnaires online, making screening cycles faster and easier.
This project, although less publicized than the management of the pandemic in 2021, is nevertheless very important for Akinox. Our teams are proud to be able to contribute to putting technology at the service of helping children.
4. Akinox Pioneers in Virtual Care in Québec, at the Forefront of Helping the Government in Digital Health
Akinox is a pioneer in virtual care in Canada. Indeed, even before the importance of virtual care was highlighted by the pandemic, Akinox was already working on virtual care projects in 2010 to make care accessible to the populations of Québec’s Far North. Through its collaboration with the MUHC and the McGill RIUSSS, Akinox has been able to deploy its solution in more than 60% of the Québec territory. This successful pilot project and unique expertise were recognized in 2021 through the awarding of the provincial telehealth/care pathway tender. This priority project for access to care aims to reduce delays in access to specialized care. For example, the waiting time for a dermatology consultation could be reduced from 2 years to 14 days. The creation of a provincial patient portal as well as teleconsultation and hospital transfer are also planned, all accessible to 23,000 physicians and more than 200,000 users of the health and social services network. A whole program for the next 5 years.
5. Results Beyond Expectations with the Research Project to Optimize the Inter-institutional Care Pathway in Thoracic Surgery between the MUHC and the CISSS de l’Outaouais.
In 2021, Akinox was fortunate to continue to accompany the entire thoracic surgery team of CISSSO and the McGill University Health Centre in their technological transformation through their research project started in 2019. The objective of the research project was to optimize the oncology and non-oncology trajectory in thoracic surgery between the MUHC and the CISSSO through the combined implementation of an organizational innovation and a Québec-based technological innovation that integrates all stages of patient management. 2021 represented the completion of the project and the results are significant and positive. Indeed, the experience of the users and their relatives has been improved as well as the experience of the care providers (nurses, nurse clinicians, navigators, physicians, surgeons…). Costs were reduced in the various phases of the process and significant savings were made. The platform is simple, easy to use and has a low learning curve, which has facilitated its adoption rate within the teams. All results will be published in 2022 in specialized research journals.
“One of the key benefits of this innovation is that we no longer lose patients”
Physician member of the research project.
The entire thoracic surgery team from CISSSO and the McGill University Health Centre won the Innovative Clinical Team Award at the Health Informatics Gala for this project, proving the effectiveness of a clinical and technological partnership for the well-being of both users and health professionals.
6. Meteoric Growth in the Number of Employees and Women in the Company
In 2021, Akinox has almost doubled its number of employees. New talents and expertise have joined the company to continue to put technology at the service of health. Business analysts, developers, QA, DevOPS, product managers are some of the profiles that have been added to the teams to help with the numerous projects.
Another interesting fact of 2021 for Akinox is that the number of women is growing to almost 40% of resources, which is quite rare in a technology company. By the end of 2021, the breakdown is 55% women in the project department, 25% in the development department, 75% in the QA department, 50% in the technical support team and 100% in the BI department. Equity was strong in 2021 and will continue to be a core value for Akinox in 2022.
Finally, diversity has also been emphasized with international hires. Flexibility and telecommuting allow employees to work from anywhere in the world, in different time zones and in different countries.
7. Participation in the First Face-to-face Digital Health Event of the Year
Akinox was honored to participate in the Colloque et Salon d’exposition Informatique Santé on the theme of Digital Transformation: Valorization of Clinical Data in the Service of the Patient, which took place on November 4, 2021, at the Saint-Hyacinthe Convention Center. This is the first face-to-face event in which Akinox was able to participate in 2021 in compliance with current health standards.
This symposium aims to put forward the best ways to adopt the best practices in terms of project deployment in the network. It is primarily intended for managers and professionals interested in major innovative information technology (IT) projects that affect the Health and Social Services network.
Several experts in the field were present to give conferences and workshops on topics such as the advancement of technology in the field of Health and Social Services. Many partners and collaborators came to the Akinox booth to discuss and exchange on their digital health challenges. We even had the honor of a visit from Luc Bouchard, Associate Deputy Minister of Health and Social Services.
8. Recognition From the Healthcare Industry for Our Technological Innovation
At the Gala Informatique Santé, held on November 4, 2021, in Saint-Hyacinthe, Akinox was awarded the e-health solution of the year prize for the VaxiCode and VaxiCode Verif applications. In addition, its work was also recognized through the Innovative Clinical Team of the Year Award won by the CISSSO-CUSM’s thoracic surgery team, which Akinox is fortunate enough to support for the technological component.
The innovative nature of the solution on the Québec, Canadian and international scene and the usefulness of the vaccine passport in the technological management of the pandemic in Québec were important criteria evaluated by the jury.
Akinox is very proud to have won such important awards in the field of digital health. It is a recognition that gives even more credibility to the work and research done by Akinox and underlines its expertise in the field of digital health.
9. Invitation to Present Our Work Among the Giants of the Industry
Akinox was honored to participate in the general meeting of the Vaccine Credential Initiative (VCI) members in June 2021. During this meeting, Akinox presented the solutions developed for the reading of QR codes and for the analysis of infection statistics. Companies such as Microsoft, Oracle, UC San Diego, MITRE Corporation and several other major players and collaborators shared their work and expertise about proof of vaccination.
In 2021, there was also a meeting of NASEM (the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine) where Akinox had the opportunity to participate and discuss the technology used in the VaxiCode application and its effectiveness since the beginning of the pandemic.
“We are truly grateful for all of the work that has been done through the VCI to establish strong principles that help communicate with policymakers and the public.”
Alexander Dahl, president and founder of Akinox.
Many of the world’s leading healthcare and technology companies are invited to these meetings. It is an honor for Akinox to be able to participate and share its expertise and advances in the technological field.
10. A Year Filled with Care
2021 was a year in which the value of caring took on a life of its own at Akinox. In this second year of the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, it has become more than necessary to encourage this value within the company through numerous activities and initiatives.
Following the new health measures announced by the Premier of Québec at the end of 2021, Akinox has decided to implement an internal challenge to encourage wellness and physical health. With a duration of 4 weeks, this challenge aimed to motivate employees to perform physical activities, such as taking walks or doing exercises, and activities for wellness, such as yoga, reading books, etc. At the end of the 4 weeks, employees completed a total of over 10,000 minutes of physical and mental activity.
Similar to the Wellness Challenge, Akinox also participated in the 2021 Corporate Challenge, which promotes exercise to employees of companies that want to participate. For its first participation, Akinox received a distinction for being one of the companies (10 to 99 employees) with the highest percentage of participation. Training programs, videos and expert advice were available to employees over a 12-week period.
Since its foundation, Akinox has always promoted health-related causes. Thus, for the first time in 2021, Akinox participated in Movember. This event encourages men of all ages to grow a mustache to raise awareness about men’s diseases such as prostate and testicular cancer, male suicide prevention and male mental health. For each employee who grew a mustache, Akinox donated $200 to the Movember Foundation.
Collaboration is also one of Akinox’s key values. Even when telecommuting, the company ensures that team synergy is always present. In the summer, when weather conditions were favorable, Akinox held its first employee gathering in three Québec cities where there is a large concentration of employees: Québec City, Sherbrooke and Montréal. These gatherings increased the social side of the business and allowed us to meet face-to-face. Akinox also conducted monthly virtual team activities. During these activities, games such as trivia and quizzes are organized to help employees unwind from their busy week and ensure that a sense of belonging is always present at Akinox. It is also a great opportunity for employees to get together as a team and have fun together.
And what is in store for us in 2022?
The year 2022 is off to a great start with even more projects, challenges and innovation to come. Of course, Akinox continues to collaborate with the Québec government, the MSSS and the INSPQ in the technological fight against the pandemic, with the delivery of the COVID-19 rapid test result self-declaration portal in January 2022. The Agir tôt project also continues to optimize screening for developmental and learning disabilities in young children. 2022 will also be a big year for virtual care with important deliverables from the first phase of the provincial project. If the health situation allows it, Akinox will continue to participate face-to-face in major industry events for ever more innovation in the service of health. Finally, the values of collaboration, benevolence, authenticity and fairness that have guided us throughout 2021 will continue to be our watchwords to propel us into 2022 and our wish for society.