Maggie Bergeron, PT Founder of Embodia


Maggie Bergeron is a registered physiotherapist who received her Master of Science in Physical Therapy from McMaster University in 2009 after completing her undergraduate studies at the University of Ottawa where she played on the women’s water polo team. Maggie is the co-founder of Embodia, an all-in-one platform for PTs and rehab professionals that includes everything from online continuing education to HEP to EMR and a practice management system. She continues to see a small caseload of patients virtually and holds a Status-Only Appointment (lecturer ranking) with the Department of Physical Therapy at the University of Toronto.

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Q&A with Maggie Bergeron

What is your desired transformation(s) from this alternative journey?

1. Influence the health data conversation – people should own their own health data and clinics/organizations should have control over their data. All patients on Embodia own their own data and can keep their records via Embodia, regardless if their clinician/clinic is still subscribed to Embodia (ie: we don’t remove patient access). All clinics can manage their own accounts and we don’t remove access if they cancel (they maintain read-only access along with easy-to-use import and export tools)

2. Create a platform that provides complete digital tools for clinics beyond ‘practice management’ – this includes video-based HEP and the ability to record patients; telerehab, two-way messaging, ability to host and sell courses and memberships to patients/general public, and alternate to e-fax (ie: digital ways to share referrals and documents with external sources)

3. Offer patients control over their health data and an easy way to access, view, and track their rehab programs. This includes outcome measure tracking, keeping diaries and progress notes (which they can choose to share with their clinician), exercise programs, education, bookings, receipts, and charts (ability to access their own charts!)

What has been your biggest struggle with this alternative career and life path? How did you overcome this?

It was a steep learning curve in multiple areas including business and tech! As a PT, I hadn’t done any kind of business, marketing, or sales training. I had never seriously considered the role of tech in PT/healthcare until I met my co-founder who was a chemical engineer teaching himself how to code. I consider the first 4 years of Embodia a real-life (and high-risk!) education in business, startups, and technology. It was anything but easy and there were so many reasons to stop along the way; however, good mentors, a tech incubator with resources, and a fascination with the tech community pushed me to continue.

What was at stake if you didn’t take the risk of pursuing your alternative career?

Minimal impact. I enjoy providing 1-1 patient care but I knew that I could impact more people’s lives by doing something else. This something else for me was using tech to provide a better patient experience (web and mobile app where patients can manage all of their rehab info including exercises, outcomes, diaries, receipts, bookings, etc), and a seamless experience for clinicians (all-in-one platform to manage everything)

How long before you started seeing a return on your investment?

We started October 26th 2014, and we started to see a return probably in about October of 2018. it took about four years, of a lot of hard lessons. we had people using it but it was still pretty hard and it was mostly improvements. The best comparison that I could give is if you opened a clinic and people always came in and they just wanted to see something different time and time again, for four years, that’s basically what it was. And then about 2018, we hit our stride, we formed a few very important partnerships, and we signed up a few very large clients, which just gives, it gives you validation and some confidence.

How did you support yourself while building Embodia?

I worked a lot, and I found a few other creative things, but it was mostly my PT practice that was, paying me. So I started my PT practice in April of 2014, and we started Embodia in October of 2014. That wasn’t really planned, it’s just what happened. So I was building my practice as my full-time gig for four years as we were building Embodia. And then building Embodia and all the time in between. So I didn’t have much of a social life.

Who this service is for, and what is that you offer?

The primary thing that we offer is an all-in-one platform for the practitioners and the clinics who want to manage their practice on one platform. We offer everything from practice management, EMR, charting, scheduling, online booking, and billing. We have super bills. We do not integrate with the insurance system. So if you’re an insurance-based clinic, I’m sorry, we’re not for you. But otherwise, practitioners in the U. S. and in Canada, we do have an integration with TELUS. And we’re just about to launch our insurance with HKAI, which is very Ontario-based, insurance integration. And then we also have HEP, so exercise prescription.

We have a huge library of exercise videos, patient education that can be shared with patients, questionnaires, so intake forms, and outcome measures. You can build your own diaries, like stress. And then we have a telehealth platform. So if you want to run virtual sessions, group and 1-1, two-way messaging between patients and practitioners, then we have the whole Con Ed side and the Con Ed side is multifaceted. So we have a library of courses. There are about a thousand on-demand courses that are for practitioners. We also have an option where clinics can host their own content, their own courses

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