This northern Ontario company is using AI to reduce paperwork at doctors' offices

A company in Sudbury, Ont., is using artificial intelligence (AI) to reduce the amount of time physicians and their staff spend on administrative tasks.

WaiveTheWait received a $250K investment from the Sudbury Catalyst Fund to help it expand

A young man and woman standing in front of a brick wall.
WaiveTheWaite co-founders Shreyansh Anand and Tabassum Pasha, left to right, started the company to improve health care for patients and physicians. (Submitted by Tabassum Pasha)

A company in Sudbury, Ont., is using artificial intelligence (AI) to reduce the amount of time physicians and their staff spend on administrative tasks.

Earlier this month, WaiveTheWait received a $250,000 investment from the Sudbury Catalyst Fund to help it expand its current product line, which aims to reduce the administrative burden in family medicine.

A survey from the Ontario College of Family Physicians last year found that, on average, family doctors spend 19 hours a week on administrative tasks. Ninety-four per cent reported they are overwhelmed with paperwork that takes up to 40 per cent of their time every week.

Shreyansh Anand, WaiveTheWait's co-founder and CEO, said he started the company because of a formative experience he had as an eight-year-old child.

"My dad went through a really bad kitchen accident where he almost lost his finger," he said.

"We rushed to the closest hospital and we ended up waiting about eight hours overnight before he finally got the help he needed."

A commercial building with the word NORCAT on it.
WaiveTheWait received support from the NORCAT training and innovation centre in Sudbury to help it expand. (Jonathan Migneault/CBC)

Anand said that experience opened his eyes to issues with Ontario's health-care system and how things could be improved for patients.

"I started working with a few friends on this idea of how do we help eliminate this waiting that happens in clinics," he said.

Through the startup incubator program at Queen's University, he started WaiveTheWait with a tool called The Smart Waiting Room, which gives patients an accurate time for when they should arrive at a clinic, reducing wait times.

Tabassum Pasha, WaiveTheWait's second co-founder and chief operating officer, said the company received early support from NORCAT, a training and innovation centre based in Sudbury.

With that support, the company started to address the high number of administrative tasks that take up doctors' time every day.

They came up with a tool called the Automated Task Manager, which contacts patients automatically with texts, emails and pre-recorded messages, to book followup appointments and complete other simple tasks.

A man with a bear wearing a stethoscope around his neck.
Dr. Shane Teper is a family physician in Brampton, Ont., and WaiveTheWait's chief medical officer. (Submitted by Tabassum Pasha )

Dr. Shane Teper, a family physician with a practice in Brampton, Ont., was one of the first doctors to get onboard with WaiveTheWait's Smart Waiting Room.

Teper later became the company's chief medical officer, providing advice and guidance as a practising family doctor.

He said the introduction of electronic medical records has made it easier to transmit information, but it has come at a cost.

"It's almost like a fire hose of data landing up in your electronic medical record," he said.

"Most physicians probably spend at least two hours a day now just managing that inflow, not even doing the clinical work related to it."

Teper said the Automated Task Manager has reduced the number of "rote activities" his staff have to perform and lets them do more value-added work instead.

"Unfortunately we haven't fully solved the administrative burden at WaiveTheWait but that's our goal and we're getting there."

Using AI to label documents

WaiveTheWait's third product, called the Document Triaging Service, uses AI to read and understand the hundreds of faxes and emails doctors' offices receive each day.

It's able to make sense of those documents, such as patient referrals, and then gives them the appropriate label to then route them to the appropriate doctor.

"It's very tedious, time-sucking work, which we're able to automate," said Pasha.

To address privacy concerns, Pasha said the company's servers are all based in Canada, and they wipe the data they collect every 24 hours.

She said WaiveTheWait also creates a separate AI model for each clinic they work with so data isn't shared between different offices.

As the company plans to expand with more staff in Sudbury, Anand said the next step for WaiveToWait is to have their AI models go through patients' medical history to automatically trigger the appropriate follow-ups, such as booking an appointment for blood work or to see a specialist.

"We're already having some proof of concepts done with CT scans and mammograms and other imaging documents which require certain information, but not as extensive as other consultation requests," Anand said.


Jonathan Migneault

Digital reporter/editor

Jonathan Migneault is a CBC digital reporter/editor based in Sudbury. He is always looking for good stories about northeastern Ontario. Send story ideas to