Stimulating innovation to improve
healthcare access in remote regions.

The Harfang* Program, powered by Desjardins is a unique program that aims to address the persistent challenges related to limited healthcare access that remote or isolated rural communities are often faced with. By harnessing proven technological innovations, Harfang bridges the gap between cutting-edge solutions and regional healthcare needs. As a catalyst and integrator, CTS is committed to promoting accessibility, equity, and continuity of healthcare services.

I am extremely pleased to be working with Desjardins Group. For over 15 years, CTS has been catalyzing technology development and nurturing the healthcare innovation ecosystem. Not only will we witness productive partnerships emerging and strengthen our long-standing ties with Desjardins, but we will also ensure that the benefits reach those who need them most. I am confident that this program can lead to sustainable and equitable change in our healthcare ecosystem,

states CTS CEO
Jean-Pierre Robert.

One in five Quebecers is affected.

In Québec, nearly one in five people living in a remote or isolated rural region do not have access to the same healthcare services as those residing near a major urban centre. The barriers to healthcare access are numerous such as: the amount of travel time required and limited access to remote regions, the additional costs associated with travelling long distances, cultural differences, limited health awareness, poor digital literacy, and the scarcity of specialized medical resources. This situation is further exacerbated by health issues unique to Indigenous populations, who also experience inadequate access to healthcare. As a result, it is crucial to acknowledge the financial, cultural, geographical, and online-access inequalities in Québec. These barriers impact health status, resource utilization, life expectancy, as well as increased mortality rates in both adults and infants.

Innovation to enhance health equity.

Thanks to the support from the Desjardins Group, through its GoodSpark Fund, CTS is launching Harfang, powered by Desjardins. This program aims to contribute to better health for the population by facilitating access to remote care. Health technology, often deployed in large hospitals located in urban centres, could potentially have a considerable positive impact in remote areas. CTS and Desjardins are confident that this program can make a major contribution to solving the health-equity problems afflicting remote regions.

Discovery

The Discovery component aims to determine the specific and crucial needs common to several communities and identify areas for action to implement critical solutions for targeted users, including:

  • Patients requiring specialized and local services, including children and the elderly.
  • People at risk or suffering from chronic illnesses and requiring preventive support, early diagnosis, or sustained monitoring.
  • Care-infrastructure personnel (including clinicians, nurses, and administrative staff) whose workload is excessive.
  • Members of Indigenous communities.

Mobilization

The Mobilization component involves establishing partnerships with stakeholders. It also aims to identify proven technology solutions, mainly from Québec entrepreneurs. These partnerships are designed to ensure a better match between identified unmet needs, regional centres of expertise, and available resources all while providing appropriate responses to emerging issues.

Deployment

These components will lead to the Deployment component, leading to the creation of three technology showcases by June 2026. The selection and use of technology solutions in response to identified needs will have a positive impact on the lives of a wide range of patients, citizens, and stakeholders in the healthcare sector. Ultimately, the Harfang program aims to sustain its activities and become a long-term program in remote regions as a key part of the Québec healthcare system and a benchmark both in Canada and worldwide.

Through this substantial contribution from the GoodSpark Fund, Desjardins is helping to improve access to healthcare for people living in remote areas throughout Québec. We firmly believe that technological advancements will enhance care accessibility and lead to the emergence of solutions that can address health equity issues. That’s why we are proud to support the Harfang program, designed to offer more services to those in need across the province.

Says Marc Villeneuve, Vice-President,
Business Development and Outreach,
Business Services, Desjardins Group.

A rallying partnership

The alliance between CTS and the Desjardins Group represents the culmination of a long-standing collaboration. Together, they are committed to adopting a pragmatic and iterative working approach that focuses on results. CTS will act as a catalyst to facilitate exchanges between the stakeholders and participating companies, while Desjardins will act as a strategic financial partner.

With over 15 years of experience promoting innovative technologies developed by Québec entrepreneurs, CTS boasts a team of seasoned entrepreneurs and executives with multidisciplinary expertise. Supported by a global network of partners, scientists, clinicians, technologists, entrepreneurs, investors, and senior executives, CTS has an in-depth knowledge of the life sciences ecosystem, companies in the healthcare technology sector in Québec, and the challenges related to health tech adoption in care settings. Leveraging its expertise and international network, CTS can draw on the best practices of other provinces in Canada and global locations.

With regards to partnerships, CTS is actively seeking strategic collaborators as part of the program. Interested organizations and companies are encouraged to reach out to explore potential avenues for collaboration.

About Desjardins

Desjardins is North America’s largest and the world’s fifth-largest financial cooperative, with assets of $422.9 billion at December 31, 2023. Desjardins has been recognized as one of Canada’s top employers by Forbes and Mediacorp. To meet the far-ranging needs of its members and clients, including both individuals and businesses, it provides a comprehensive array of products and services through its extensive network of points of service, its virtual platforms, and its subsidiaries across Canada. As one of the most solid banking institutions in the world according to The Banker magazine, Desjardins has capital ratios and credit ratings that are among the best in the industry.