Providence Health Care has an extraordinary track record of research and discovery — an enterprise, that through our Learning-Forward strategic direction, we plan to scale up and bring to every corner of Providence.

In 2019, we announced that Providence Health Care, supported by the St. Paul’s Foundation, would be one of the founding members of the Canada Digital Technology Supercluster.

As a member of the Supercluster, we work with partners to transform health care and create a space to take calculated risks in an effort to dream up disruptive, even transformational, ideas. Given our size, and our ability to be more agile than larger health organizations, we aspire to become the “go-to” place to prototype new ideas, incubate novel concepts, and test creative theories. An example of this is the Point-of-Care Ultrasound (PoCUS) project.

Click here to watch the first PHC Digital Supercluster video spotlight showcasing the PoCUS.

What is PoCUS?

PoCUS combines machine learning, handheld ultrasound devices and a cloud-based platform to create an integrated and intelligent point-of-care ultrasound network to deliver faster, more accurate diagnoses to patients in rural, remote and urban areas.

The project is led by St. Paul’s Hospital emergency physician and UBC Faculty of Medicine clinical assistant professor Dr. Oron Frenkel as clinical lead and Allan Noordvyk, Executive Director of Health Informatics PHC as Steering Committee Chair.

Ultrasound is a key clinical tool in our health care system — it helps to provide early diagnosis for many medical conditions, such as urgent heart conditions, progress of a pregnancy and even COVID-19. Unfortunately, access to the life-saving diagnoses, made possible by ultrasound, is limited by the availability of machines and the ability to analyze their results. For example, in British Columbia only 5 per cent of physicians are trained to interpret ultrasound scans; this means that up to 40 per cent of patients are unable to access specialized diagnostic tests or face long wait times.

This is driving the efforts of the PoCUS, led by Providence Health Care in partnership with Change Healthcare, Clarius Mobile Health, UBC and the Rural Coordination Centre of BC. This initiative is provide clinicians in rural settings with access to ultrasounds, supported by Artificial Intelligence (AI) and a robust educational network. As a result, patients, no matter where they live, will have equal access to life-saving ultrasound imaging.

It has been estimated that since the September 2020 distribution of 52 probes to 32 different rural communities (12 of which are Indigenous communities), the project has served 32,000+ patients.

To learn more about the PoCUS, click here.

Read more about how the PoCUS is making a difference in diagnosing pneumonia from suspected COVID-19 patients in real time in a recent Daily Scan story.

Stay tuned as we feature more videos showcasing PHC’s Digital Supercluster projects in the coming weeks!

Have an idea like PoCUS, please contact or with your contact info and an intake form will be sent for you to complete.