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

Members of the Vernon-North Okanagan RCMP paid tribute Saturday to Const. Marc Hovingh of the Ontario Provincial Police, who was killed in a shooting Nov. 19, 2020. (RCMP photo)
Vernon RCMP honours fallen Ontario police officer

Const. Marc Hovingh was killed in a shooting on Manitoulin Island, Ont. on Nov. 19

The Armstrong Green Space Society is calling for the preservation of the Royal York Golf Course, which may be in jeopardy pending an application to use the land for a major housing development. (File photo)
Armstrong group calls on council to spare local golf course from housing development

The Armstrong Green Space Society was formed in 2019 after word of the development surfaced

Vicki Proulx, executive director of the Vernon Winter Carnival Society, stands beneath a lights display the society lit up in Spirit Square Nov. 27, by way of announcing it will be taking over the 2021 downtown light-up event. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
Vernon Winter Carnival Society lights up downtown square

The society announced it will be taking over next year’s downtown light-up event

Parents are urged to be on alert after a potential child abduction attempt took place near Armstrong Elementary School Friday, Nov. 27, 2020. (amsas/neden photo)
Possible child abduction attempt at Armstrong Elementary School prompts warning

A letter from the school’s principal urges parents to be on high alert

A former Nanaimo investment advisor is accused of lying under oath to the B.C. Securities Commission. (Black Press file)
Vernon budget opens for public input

Draft financial plan includes 4.47% tax increase for 2021

Mary Cox and Jack Plant dance in their pyjamas and slippers at the morning pyjama dance during the Rhythm Reelers’ 25 Annual Rally in the Valley Square Dance Festival in Chilliwack on June 4, 2011. Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020 is Square Dancing Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Nov. 29 to Dec. 5

Square Dancing Day, Disability Day and International Ninja Day are all coming up this week

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
RCMP issue warning after woman assaulted while walking in Kelowna

On Saturday, the unknown man ran up and grabbed her in an inappropriate manner before fleeing

Kevin Bieksa during his days playing with the Vancouver Canucks. (Photo: commons.wikimedia.org)
Bieksa to guest on free Canucks Alumni ‘Hot Stove’ on Zoom app

Former NHL player has become a game analyst on Sportsnet

A West Cabs driver is being investigated for an incident which allegedly took place this week. (West Cabs)
West Kelowna cab driver under investigation after altercation over his lack of mask

Passenger alleges cab driver became confrontational when asked about wearing mask

Supt. Brian Hunter will be presenting first quarter RCMP stats to Penticton city council, tomorrow (April 21). (Phil McLachlan - Western News - File)
South Okanagan RCMP superintendent wants to set up dedicated prolific offender task force

Supt. Brian Hunter plans to use the additional officers city council approved for the force

Vees goalkeeper Yaniv Perets stands watch while Tyler Ho takes the puck around the back of the net on Nov. 7. The BCHL press release did not name the player who tested positive.(Brennan Phillips - Western News)
Penticton Vees quarantining after player tests positive for COVID-19

The team, staff and billets are isolating while they are tested

(Pixabay)
‘We need to be empathetic’; Kelowna support worker speaks out after disabled individual denied haircut

Individual with severe autism denied service at a Kelowna hair salon for not wearing mask

The Interior Wildfire Rehabilitation Society is looking for 10-15 acres to house a rehab centre for injured and orphaned wildlife like deer and moose calves. (Black Press file photo)
Okanagan group look for property to house wildlife rehab centre

The Interior Wildlife Rehabilitation Society is looking for 10 acres for injured/orphaned animals

Most Read