Name of Organization/ Individual:
thehealthline.ca Information Network
Tell us about what your business does.
thehealthline.ca Information Network is Ontario’s digital health and community information network. We are a non-profit that is committed to working with partners to improve information systems and connect the people of Ontario to the health and community services they need. We find innovative solutions to data management challenges and deliver quality tools that grant everyone equitable access to information.
What do you love most about what you do?
I think I can speak for all of us when I say that the most gratifying part of our work is knowing that we are helping people freely find the information they need to get well and stay healthy. Showing people all of the great services that are out there, and seeing the look of relief when they realize they will be able to get help, is incredibly rewarding.
How does the work that you do change the world or give back to our community in a positive way?
In our primary capacity, we collect and maintain information about services that people need – services they may not know even exist. And we make the information available on a publicly-accessible platform (thehealthline.ca). We also work with partners to build specific lenses into the data – through sites like Family Info (https://familyinfo.ca/en/), Age Friendly Sarnia Lambton (https://www.agefriendlysarnialambton.ca/), and the Anishinabek Education System Wellness Portal (https://aeswellnessportal.ca/)
What do you love most about working at Innovation Works that you are looking forward to coming back to?
As new tenants, we are excited to connect with other organizations in the space and participate in the community-building that is happening here.
What is the best thing that has happened for you or your business as a result of working at Innovation Works?
Well we’ve just arrived, but everyone has been lovely so far! And when I was touring the site, several people said ‘OOH, thehealthline.ca! We love you guys, you should totally move here!’ So we did!
How have you had to adapt your business as a result of COVID-19?
Well, we quickly realized that having a large office was not necessary for the work that we do, because we moved to working from home relatively seamlessly back in March of 2020. And with everyone focused on surviving the chaos and instability, we just worked with partners on maintaining the resources they needed. That, and updating the thousands of records within our database that suddenly needed to be updated when every service provider in Ontario changed their hours and way they operated!
Have you been able to contribute to any community initiatives to help those impacted by COVID-19?
Yes, in addition to doing extensive outreach to make sure profiles were up-to-date and accurately reflected COVID-19 changes, we also (among other things) provided data exports to partners who needed help making sure they were connecting with all of their relevant stakeholders, we created COVID-19 resource pages to highlight pertinent information, and created a Health Chat group for members of the City’s Social Impact and Recovery Task Force to post their ‘needs’ and ‘wants.
What do you hope will be different about the world or our community after COVID-19?
Personally, I hope we keep focused on the lessons that we’ve learned during this unique experience – about inclusion, equity and diversity –and continue the work when we no longer ‘have to’. I hope we remember how vulnerable and fragile everything felt, and continue to work from a place of protection and care when we all come out on the other side.