A Queen’s University startup company, Waive the Wait, is hoping to cut down the amount of time individuals spend waiting for appointments in a physical waiting room.
Their online waiting room program connects health care offices and clinics with their patients through an app. The patients sign in to the virtual waiting room, and the receptionist or office manager can see who is at which stage of arriving.
Tabassum Pasha, business development leader for Waive the Wait, said the software is free of charge for now. The team is hoping to support the COVID-19 vaccine rollout with this program, but set up has not been as smooth as they had hoped.
“We have been reaching out to pharmacies and many were interested, but unfortunately there were certain customizations that needed to be made which the pharmacies did not have time to wait for,” Pasha shared with Kingstonist. “Pharmacies really wanted a scheduling system to book the second dose of the vaccine for their patients, and we were in the process of building one at the time. We are still offering the software for pharmacies for free/pay what you can if they are interested.”
The entire Waive the Wait team attended Queen’s University. Team members are Shreyansh Anand, Anne Liu, Tabassum Pasha, Yifei Yin, and Daniel Oh.
“Waive the Wait officially came together last year as we took part in the QICSI program,” Pasha said. “The Queen’s Innovation Centre Summer Initiative (QICSI) is a 16-week, fixed cohort incubator program where founders receive no-cost training, mentorship, and office space to launch their own venture. We went through the program last year, but we still receive support from them in the form of networking opportunities.”
In May 2020, the Waive the Wait team came together in its current configuration and developed the idea of Waive the Wait as it exists now.
“In all the previous iterations of what is now Waive the Wait, the focus was always on healthcare and they were still dealing with wait times. In 2019, the team worked on an app that displayed the travel time and wait time at the ER for hospitals in the area so that people could make decisions during a stressful situation,” Pasha explained. “Walk-in clinics were also considered, as there is a problem with long wait times. The reason the team pivoted was because there were existing solutions that worked well and were free. We needed to create a solution that was monetizable.”
Currently, the team is working on this program pro bono. “None of us are taking a salary,” Pasha continued. “The program is free of charge/pay what you can until vaccinations have concluded. We have some funding from pitch competitions, which is what we have been using so far.”
The team hopes local Kingston clinics and offices will explore this option as a way to better organize waiting rooms, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. “We’re not working with anyone locally just yet,” she said. “We have a few interested clinics, including the student wellness center at Queen’s, and we’re hoping to work with them later in the year.”