Dr. Steve Piper, owner of Monashee Health Collective, is leading an applied research project to develop an app that will help health professionals connect with patients in real time. (Contributed).

Dr. Steve Piper, owner of Monashee Health Collective, is leading an applied research project to develop an app that will help health professionals connect with patients in real time. (Contributed).

Okanagan researchers developing app to connect patients with practitioners virtually

The prototype holistic wellness app will be tested and launched over the next six months

Researchers in the Okanagan are working on a new tool to help health professionals connect with patients in real-time and support their journey towards wellness.

Okanagan College has teamed up with Monashee Heath Collective (MHC) — which provides chiropractic, physiotherapy, acupuncture and massage therapy services in Vernon — to test and launch a prototype holistic wellness app over the next six months.

Dr. Steve Piper, chiropractor and owner of MHC, recalls how his business, like so many others, had to change the way it supported patients when the pandemic hit.

“During early stages of the pandemic, phone and email communication with patients became the only method of service delivery in the short term,” Piper said.

“Although MHC is now providing limited in-person treatment in accordance with B.C.’s Reopening Plan, the need remains for new virtual communication methods to engage patients between visits. That need certainly isn’t going to go away even after the pandemic.

“Our job is to help people get better, and staying connected to our clients is critical in our ability to do that. As good as telehealth is, we’re hands-on practitioners, so enhancing that communication is vital to help us truly stay connected to our patients.”

READ MORE: Companies warn Tory motion could deter domestic production of PPE

Piper said while the pandemic has revealed a clear need for new types of communication between patients and practitioners, the project is one MHC had envisioned prior to COVID-19, albeit for a slightly different reason.

“We’re focused on supporting patients’ overall wellness in the long-term,” he said. “I’m a firm believer that people who practice an avid approach to wellness respond better to treatment, they are less often seen in the chronic disease model. This app will offer us a way to track and measure patient wellness.”

Researcher Kathryn Reimer said while there are already many apps on the market that allow users to track their activity, nutrition and sleep, none of these supports the needs of both health-care professionals and patients.

“We couldn’t find an app that did all we needed it to do,” Reimer said. “So, we set out to build one. Our goal is to create a tool that will bring benefit to a lot of people and really enhance the depth and breadth of communication between provider and patient.”

The project is one of many applied research projects at Okanagan College, which range from exploring quality control testing for craft beverage producers to encouraging natural outdoor play to innovation in hydroponics and greenhouses. The more than 20 current and projects represent more than $2 million in funding over the past year.

The app project is funded by a grant from the National Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC).

If your company or organization has a problem that you would like to have researched, Okanagan College may be able to assist with researchers and funding. More information about Applied Research at Okanagan College is available at www.okanagan.bc.ca/appliedresearch.

READ MORE: National media calling for level playing field with Google, Facebook


Brendan Shykora
Reporter, Vernon Morning Star
Email me at Brendan.Shykora@vernonmorningstar.com
Follow us: Facebook | Twitter

CollegeTechnology

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

An Armstrong resident shared video of a beaver gnawing away on a stick to Facebook Friday, Dec. 4, 2020. (Robyn Civic Adnoh photo)
WATCH: Beaver gnaws away in Armstrong wetlands

A resident captured video of a beaver chewing happily in a local creek Friday

Robert Riley Saunders. (File)
Former Kelowna social worker arrested for allegedly stealing from foster children

Robert Riley Saunders was arrested in Alberta and will be brought back to B.C. to face charges

Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce’s Vote Vernon initiative, presented by VantageOne Credit Union, calls on residents to shop local this Christmas season. (Black Press file)
Small businesses hurt by federal COVID-19 response: North Okanagan-Shuswap MP

Mel Arnold calls for more accessible programming for businesses; supports local holiday shopping

Mission Creek Regional Park. (File Photo)
RDCO cancels in-person park programs due to COVID-19

The regional district said it supports the efforts to reduce the virus’ spread

(Twila Amato - Black Press Media)
COVID-19 cases at 4 more Central Okanagan schools

The Central Okanagan School District is confirming positive COVID-19 cases

JoeAnna’s House pictured in 2019. The house has been in operation for a year. (Twila Amato - Black Press Media)
JoeAnna’s House celebrates its one-year anniversary

It’s been one year since JoeAnna’s House opened its doors to helping families

B.C. NDP leader John Horgan releases his election platform, Vancouver, Oct. 6, 2020, featuring COVID-19 relief payments promised for most households. (B.C. NDP photo)
Next $1.5 billion in B.C. COVID-19 cash ‘prudent,’ Horgan says

New round of paymens for household incomes up to $175,000

Numerous businesses, including the Roxie movie theater, have closed to try and stop spread of COVID-19. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)
Revelstoke COVID-19 cases tick slowly up to 49

An increase of only three cases since Nov. 30

KIJHL games have been postponed through Dec. 31. (File photo)
KIJHL postpones all games through end of 2020

Due to provincial health orders, games up to Dec. 31 have been pushed back

The Grinch was stolen Wednesday and returned sometime in the night on Friday. (Hughes photo - Facebook)
The Grinch has been returned to Penticton home

“I guess someone’s heart grew three times that night” says April Hughes

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Two Kelowna flights have been flagged as having COVID-19 cases on board. (Black Press Media file photo)
COVID-19 cases on several Kelowna flights

The flights were on Nov. 19, 22, 24 and 27, according to the BC Centre for Disease Control

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Most Read