Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) is seeking a dermoscopy tool that helps with early detection of skin cancers for residents who live in VCH’s long-term care (LTC) facilities. The hope is to increase timeliness of diagnosis as well as reduce anxiety around leaving the LTC home for suspicious skin lesion assessments. There is also the potential to reduce the need for biopsies. Additionally, earlier diagnosis allows for increased treatment options.

Vancouver Coastal Health is posting this Call for Innovation to seek out qualified Canadian companies who can meet the desired outcomes. VCH and CAN Health reserves the right to not move forward with this project at its full discretion and in particular if there are no qualified Canadian companies that can reasonably meet the desired outcomes.

To qualify for a CAN Health project, the company must have its headquarters in Canada and/or the majority (>50 per cent) of the company owned by Canadians and/or significant economic impact to Canada including a high Canadian job creation potential, >70 per cent of contract value to Canada (for distributors of a non-Canadian solution), independent autonomy over business operations and product development (for subsidiaries, affiliates or distributors), current presence (office(s) and client(s)) and can benefit from the CAN Health Network. Priority will be given to companies that meet all eligibility criteria.

For more information on the Call for Innovation process and the commercialization projects funded by CAN Health Network, please refer to the FAQ page on the CAN Health Network website:

This opportunity is closed.
Problem Statement and Objective(s)

Problem Statement: Many people living in LTC homes require outpatient care for suspicious skin lesion assessments which often can be done within the LTC home thanks to dermoscopy. By requiring persons in care to leave the LTC home, this increases anxiety, fatigue and increased health-care spending.

Objectives: The Regional Long-Term Care Professional Practice Team at VCH wants to assess the efficacy of dermoscopy within their LTC homes. The ideal solution will help to detect skin cancers, psoriasis, scabies, actinic keratosis, and assessment of superficial foreign bodies. The ideal solution will demonstrate an ability to reduce outpatient care for suspicious skin lesion assessments, improve patient outcomes by helping detect skin cancers sooner, and help triage referrals to the dermatologist. If skin cancers are diagnosed sooner, more options are available for treatment, including treatments that
can be done in the care home.



Desired outcomes and considerations

Essential (mandatory) outcomes

The proposed solution must:

  1. Improve quality assurance by implementing a process by which assessments are regularly conducted by dermoscopy experts to allow for higher quality images and improved clinical decision-making at the LTC home. It will also implement wireless and or portable easy-to-use technology to deliver timely care for persons living in LTC settings with complex health needs.
  2. Improve patient experience by improving the ability to arrive at accessible and accurate diagnosis in treatment decisions resulting in a timelier identification of a tailored person-centered treatment plan. The solution will also improve patient care by decreasing transfers to specialist appointments and lowering risk of falls and stress on the person in care.
  3. Improve the person in care’s experience by increasing the number of medical/care staff use of dermoscopes in LTC to accelerate diagnoses.
  4. Improve clinical experience by increasing opportunities to better meet the needs of the person in care in their current situation. The solution must also accelerate diagnoses or rule out more concerning conditions, thus the ability to triage skin lesions accordingly.

Additional outcomes N/A

The maximum duration for a project resulting from this Challenge is: to be determined based on ideal solution.


Background and context

Vancouver Coastal Health offers a wide variety of health services ranging from acute and primary care to long-term care and home support services. VCH has a goal to provide a high level of clinical care in a person-centered manner.

In BC, the number of individuals over 60 diagnosed with skin cancer sits at around 14 per cent, with roughly two per cent comprising melanoma. Skin cancer diagnoses are unfortunately rising as the years go on due to an aging population.

As the population grows, and the number of individuals in LTC homes increases, it is critical to address this issue. The current method to assess skin lesions involves transporting often older, frail residents to a dermatologist for an assessment. Several issues exist with the current solution:

  1. There is a backlog of individuals waiting to see dermatologists, which ranges in BC from one month to three years. This wait time can result in delayed diagnosis of skin cancers.
  2. People living in LTC homes are often frail and spending time away for long periods of time can often increase anxiety and risk of injury.
  3. The gold standard for diagnosing skin cancers is a punch-biopsy, which carries the risk of infection and bleeding. Biopsies are also often painful for the patient.
  4. This type of outpatient care increases costs on the patient resulting from transportation or family members needing to take time off work.

Finding a dermoscopy solution within Canada could help alleviate many of these concerns by helping to assess skin lesions within the home and reduce this burden on the health-care system. In addition, it will reduce risk of injury resulting from transportation away from the home and reduce anxiety for individuals that no longer need to leave LTC for these assessments.

This opportunity is closed.