Tracy and Heather launched BrainFx after twelve years as Occupational Therapists frustrated with the tools available to assess brain disorders and having to trade treatment time for lengthy report writing. Working in their own practice, Tracy and Heather spent years trialing and reviewing clinical assessment tools in search of a standardized, comprehensive, and efficient way to complete their assessments. What concerned them most was that the tools they were using were not very sensitive to mild to moderate brain disorders, as they are better at detecting more severe issues which can miss many people who can benefit from rehabilitation. Frustrated by the constant media stories about mental illness, concussion and the depression linked with mild to moderate brain disorders, they were fuelled to take matters into their own hand. In collaboration with Matthew Milner, who had been successfully integrating technology into the clinical practice for years, they created a comprehensive, digital assessment tool themselves, one that could detect mild to moderate brain disorders, one that could make early detection more accessible to the masses, one that could drastically improve lives.
BrainFx was born in February 2012 and after over a year and a half of research, their premiere product, BrainFx 360 was officially launched in October 2013. BrainFx 360 is an online and tablet based medical assessment tool that enables each client to create their own secure profile that can be shared with their health team and tracked and compared over time. Individuals can connect to BrainFx either through their health practitioner, or via the BrainFx website that provides a search function to find the nearest certified administrator to them. Prior to their assessment appointment, the client will answer a series of questionnaires, saving them valuable clinical time and cost, thus increasing its accessibility to most people. During their appointment, the health practitioner oversees a series of 50 different cognitive, sensory and balance skills activities, all driven by the assessment software on the tablet. Once completed, BrainFx 360 gathers the information into an immediate report for the client and practitioner.
The long road to developing a medical device product isn’t an easy one, and Tracy and Heather faced some challenges along the way, but the needs of their clients and colleagues pushed them to work through to the finish line. To prove the assessment’s validity, Tracy and Heather worked with peers from multiple disciplines and completed a pilot clinical trial at York University testing the assessment between those who are healthy and those with diagnosed mild to moderate brain injury. The trial was deemed a great success, as the tool was able to accurately discern whether someone fell into the healthy or mild to moderate category each time. A larger study, expanding participants is currently underway with sites across Canada.
BrainFx creates awareness about early detection of brain disorders, using their software to identify the functional effects of mild to moderate disorders and creating the best opportunity to treat individuals early on to minimize disability.
Tracy and Heather began their relationship with ventureLAB in the summer of 2012. After realizing that what they were working on and planning had the potential to assist health care teams throughout Canada and internationally, they began attending ventureLAB BUILD workshops and participated in MedEdge as a display company. ventureLAB connected BrainFx to mentoring and resources and now consult with ventureLAB on a regular basis to help direct and point them in the right direction.
"ventureLAB has been a bridge for BrainFx. The resources and mentorship have strengthened, challenged and reinforced the structure of our business. They have facilitated connections to people, funding and opportunities that we would not have known about or thought difficult to obtain. They have helped us look ahead farther than we had ourselves envisioned all while ensuring we feel well supported. The bridges ventureLAB has helped us build has ultimately accelerated our time to marker, widened our vision, created opportunities, and has helped us build strong foundations for our future growth.”
Tracy Milner and Heather Condello
February 2012 Incorporation of BrainFx
March 2013 Poster Presentation for TBI Conference in Washington D.C.
May 2013 “Most Promising Startup for 2013” by TechConnex
June 2013 Hosted “Neurorehabilitation Seminar” for professional community
September 2013 Presented at Ontario Society of Occupational Therapists Conference
October 2013 BrainFx official launch for early release program
October 2013 Recognized as Ontario Centres of Exellence Success Story
November 2013 Presented at Ontario Brain Injury Association Conference