App invented in Ottawa helping families stay connected with loved ones in hospital

aTouchAway makes it easy for people in hospitals or nursing homes to video-call their loved ones while in-person visits are restricted due to COVID-19.
By: Alison Larabie Chase
May 18, 2020
The aTouchAway app screen. Photo by Barb Campbell.

Imagine a video chat app that doesn’t require logins, passwords, downloading software or remembering anything other than the face of the person you want to talk to. That tech now exists: It’s called aTouchAway, invented by Ottawa’s Aetonix Systems. Pictures of loved ones are turned into buttons on a device’s touch screen, so the caller only has to press one and their chat is connected.

CEO Michel Paquet created aTouchAway to help doctors stay in contact with patients managing chronic illnesses, but after he visited the UK in January, doctors at a London hospital wondered if the app could be adjusted to help family members of ICU patients see their loved ones. With the COVID-19 pandemic, demand for the technology became evident.

48 tablets pre-loaded with the app were donated to Ottawa’s Queensway Carleton Hospital, where nurse Kim Schrader says both patients and their family members are comforted by being able to see one another. Several other Ontario hospitals are now using the app, and Paquet hopes it will also be used in long-term care homes whose residents are unable to receive visits from family members right now.

Source: CBC News

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