Axonify partners with CAN Health and Grand River Hospital to support our healthcare workers

To ensure the health and safety of front-line staff and patients, especially during high-stress situations, Grand River Hospital partnered with CAN Health to find a training solution.

Thursday November 25, 2021

When the Covid-19 pandemic first hit in 2020, it impacted the entire healthcare industry and its workers on a global scale, exposing them to high-risk work situations, exhaustion, fear, and the virus itself. To ensure the health and safety of front-line staff and patients, especially during high-stress situations, Grand River Hospital partnered with CAN Health to find a training solution.

The CAN Health Network works with 25 healthcare operators across five provinces to identify their most challenging problems and match them with a Canadian-made solution. Its goal is to help Canadian companies get past the traditional barriers faced when first entering the healthcare market and enable healthcare operators to explore innovative solutions with minimal risk involved.

Grand River Hospital and CAN Health held an open Call for Innovation to find an interactive learning platform to support front-line workers at a time when guidance around personal protective equipment was changing and evolving. After careful review and consideration, AC alumni Axonify was selected to supply an e-learning platform that would provide training and resources to front-line staff with mobile-first training and communications tools. The learning platform, branded HIPPO by the hospital, provides  these staff members with ongoing training to give them more confidence and support.

“The way people normally study is extremely inefficient. We cram last minute to pass the test, and then forget everything once it’s done,” said Andrew Jackson, Vice President of Customer Experience at Axonify. “The benefit in the way Axonify delivers training is that we condense the lessons into fun, bite-sized challenges to reinforce the information in a way staff are more likely to remember.”

Axonify’s training and communications platform was developed around the workflow of Grand River Hospital’s staff. HIPPO gamifies the training experience and is customized to the individual user and their specific areas of improvement. Training is broken up into 3-5 minute sessions, allowing hospital staff to increase their knowledge without detracting from the essential tasks at hand.

“While HIPPO was originally created to help our staff retain the Covid-19 safety protocols being adopted at the hospital, we quickly saw the opportunity to expand the reach of the learning platform,” said Andrea Guth, Director, Quality, Risk and Patient Engagement at Grand River Hospital. “To help staff prepare for the second phase of our clinical services evaluation by Accreditation Canada in October 2021, we customized the content in HIPPO to include the required organizational practices from the accreditation criteria to help increase everyday readiness.”

“Axonify was selected as the best solution based on their ability to best meet the criteria of the Call for Innovation,” said Alexis Fung Fook, Communications and Marketing Manager at the CAN Health Network. “By the end of this commercialization project, Grand River Hospital should have a learning platform that ensures the preparedness of their staff for accreditation and improve retention of best practices post accreditation.”

This commercialization project will allow Axonify to validate their product, HIPPO, in a healthcare setting and be well-positioned to serve other healthcare providers across Canada’s healthcare sector.

Replicating success for a stronger ecosystem

Industry and startup collaborations like these are an important part of building a strong innovation ecosystem. Health sector partnerships like the one between Axonify, Grand River Hospital, and CAN Health are exactly the types of partnerships the AC’s Plexus Medtech Program aims to foster in the future.

“We’re proud of Axonify for leading the way on CAN Health and health sector partnerships and inspiring others to do the same,” says AC CEO Jay Krishnan. “Through our new Plexus Medtech Program and collaborations with health sector partners like Grand River Hospital, we hope to see more success stories like these as Canadian-made health innovations are readily adopted into the local health system.”

About Axonify

Axonify is the training and communications solution for front-line employees that actually works. Why does it work so well? Because the experience is fun, fast, personalized and designed to make critical information stick. And employees love it—83% of users log in 2-3 times a week, which translates into meaningful behaviour change that drives business results. More than 160 customers in 150+ countries around the world, including Walmart, Bloomingdale’s, Levi’s and Merck, trust Axonify to fuel their people’s performance to keep pace with their business. Founded in 2011, Axonify is headquartered in Waterloo, ON, Canada.

About CAN Health Network

The CAN Health Network is a Canada-first approach to technology adoption. It helps break down barriers to scaling in the health care system and provides an environment for companies to scale to their full potential. Currently operating in Ontario, Western and Atlantic Canada, the CAN Health Network plans to expand into Quebec and the North. The Network has received $3.5 million in 2019 and $3.25 million in 2021 from the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), $3.5 million from PrairiesCan and PacifiCan, and most recently, $2.2 million from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency to build a national platform that harnesses the purchasing power of health care organizations. To learn more about the CAN Health Network, visit

About Grand River Hospital

Grand River Hospital (GRH) is one of Ontario’s largest community hospitals and provides innovative, quality care to more than 840,000 residents of Waterloo Region and Guelph Wellington. GRH is a leading healthcare organization, offering cancer and renal (kidney) services; care for the most seriously ill and injured adults; services for mothers, newborns and children; emergency care; mental health and addictions; and care for older adults, including rehabilitation. The Hospital is privileged to be a key partner in health sciences learning and has a rapidly growing role in teaching, as well as innovation and research through the Office of Innovation & Research, which has partnered with over 50 organizations on more than 150 innovation and research activities since 2011.

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