Challenge: Growing an already successful business
Solution: Understanding how market needs are changing - and meeting those needs


More than 20 years ago, Fonemed, LLC started with one client in Oregon. Today, the Canada-U.S. telehealth company has 2,300 client groups serving more than 10 million people in North America alone. “We have had slow but progressive growth. We built up client volume primarily by word of mouth. It was about providing great service,” says Charlene Brophy, President and CEO headquartered in St. John’s.  

Great service requires identifying market needs and exceeding client expectations. For Fonemed, that entailed looking closely and strategically at the health of the population. “Our objective is to advise the caller regarding their health concerns while at the same time ensure improved use of the health care system,” notes Brophy.

Recognizing the increasing prevalence of chronic diseases associated with a rapidly aging population, Brophy and her team started to investigate how they could expand their core telemedicine services to further support the health system. After several years of intense research and development, the company rolled out its new Health Management Platform. The software program uses innovative technology providing registered nurses access to multi-medium communication and biometric monitoring tools when supporting chronic disease sufferers.

The company is now poised to provide care focused on those patients suffering from heart failure, diabetes, COPD, asthma and various behavioral health conditions. The intention is to include other chronic diseases in the future, says Brophy.

Using best practice clinical evidence, Fonemed counsels individuals, assisting them to better manage their condition and in turn reducing their need for emergency room visits and hospital admissions. The program ensures that all of the key clinical issues are addressed with the patient including a detailed medication reconciliation program. Client organizations receive a monthly cost-benefit analysis detailing ROI based on redirection of care.

If you’re looking to grow your business sustainably, Brophy recommends expansion beyond the traditional boundaries of the health care system. “Canadian businesses can sometimes be risk adverse. Don’t be afraid to take a chance.” Look for the added value you can bring so you stand out amongst the rest.

Partnerships are also pivotal, she adds, particularly in Atlantic Canada. “We should be working together to support one another. Why reinvent the wheel?”

Partnerships, such as the one with the Government of Canada, are critical to Fonemed’s growth and continued development of its innovative health management system. An investment of over $2 million from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), is allowing the company to expand its Healthline phone service infrastructure for Triage, Chronic Disease Management (CDM), Remote Monitoring and Post-Discharge follow up care, delivering enhanced support and medical oversight to Canadians and to a global audience using industry-leading technologies and processes.

Fonemed is a prime example of how innovation and resourcefulness fuel Atlantic Canada’s economy, at home and beyond.

Do you have a business concept? Do you have an innovative idea to improve or grow your business? For more information on programs and services available to businesses in Atlantic Canada call 1-800-561-7862 or go to

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Canadian businesses can sometimes be risk adverse. Don't be afraid to take a chance.
Charlene Brophy, President and CEO, Fonemed
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