Healthcare Best Practices For The New Normal

5 Questions with George Barakat

By Jamie Bussin

On Episode #146 of THE TONIC Talk Show/Podcast I spoke with Jack Nathan Health’s George Barakat about the new protocols and opportunities for health clinic providers moving forward from Covid-19 protocols. This is an excerpt of the interview.

As we begin to enter into phase 3 in Ontario, what are some key things you are seeing as new experiences and touches within your business corporately and onsite at your medical walk-in clinics? On the clinic side, 99% of locations have remained open. We’ve put splash guards up in places, implemented social distancing, taken footprint measures, installed hand sanitizers and blocked off seating. We triage the patient in advance by phone or by staggering entry into the clinics. It’s been challenging, but at the end of the day people need healthcare.

How are you looking at the next phase and what types of plans are you beginning to strategize for around this “new normal”? We have a digital screen presence in each of our clinics, with public health messaging regarding proper mask wear, washing hands, etc. constantly on loop. But we’re positioning this information as an education tool and not just mere communication. The motivation, in part, is to keep our medical staff safe as they are in the most precarious situation dealing with those who are coming to see them because they are ill. By relaying the messaging, our intent is that the patients will understand and respect the protocols.

What you’re speaking about is a collective responsibility, for the greater good. That message needs to be conveyed. As Canadians we understand and we can see the effectiveness of our practices in social distancing. I think we’ve become very effective as you can see from our national numbers.

What do you envision as to what best practices are going to look like in the clinical environment? Going forward we want to give patients options. Part of our expansion and growth is introducing a digital health strategy, which allows patients to see physicians virtually. Equally as important, in Phase 3, as people go back to shopping, we’ve put those protocols in place to keep everyone safe.

What are the headwinds that you see coming? How do we parlay that optional strategy into a greater emphasis on digital healthcare? We have a partnership with Prescribit, where you can have a prescription virtually sent to your pharmacist and in some cases delivered right to your home. The challenge is going to be, how do we connect all those pieces? How does it all intersect for patients and their families? It has to be more of an ecosystem, where the conversation doesn’t just stop with seeing your doctor. You have to have options on how you get delivery of your goods, services and pharmaceuticals, and referrals. It’s not just referrals to specialists, but also with respect to diet, exercise and lifestyle. This is particularly important if there is a second wave. Happily our partners are on board with this notion.

For more information about Jack Nathan Health and its cofounder, George Barakat, visit  For the full interview visit