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Health care has its share of challenges, but there’s no shortage of technological innovation in the industry, speakers at the State of the Island Economic Summit said last week.

Mental health, senior care and brain health were the subject of a conference on Wednesday, October 26 at the Vancouver Island Conference Center in Nanaimo, where entrepreneurs discussed technology solutions for a range of problems.

Sean Burke, CEO and founder of CheckingIn, which offers mental wellness programs and a smartphone app, said his company was working on a case study with the Squamish First Nation. Given the atrocities that occurred in Canadian residential schools, an approach that respects the language, culture and teachings of Indigenous elders and ancestors is needed, he said.

“It takes us from this idea that a Western approach to mental health can be ‘Indigenized’ and instead it brings the actual culture and language to the forefront, where we can then add Western approaches to supporting health. mental health and well-being…” Burke said. “With different nations, what we’re doing is we’re building familiar faces, familiar people and again, bringing that culture and that language into the ‘tool.”

There are supports for many different communities, but access can be an issue, he said.

“What we’ve tried to do is simplify it and put it together in a one-stop shop to help people get the resources and support they need…” Burke said. “We’ve had a lot of success. Basically, the takeaway is that culture and language should be front and center and really make it stand out in the medium. If we continue to take a traditional, western approach to mental health, we won’t get the results we hope to see.

When asked if Indigenous nations in the Nanaimo area had been approached, Burke said he had arranged meetings with Sheila Malcolmson, BC Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and meetings with Island Health” would [the] next logical step.

Rob Parker launched ElderPrime, an app that helps patients record information about their health, after his father was diagnosed with a degenerative brain disorder in 2006.

His mother was the primary caregiver, he said, and would follow his father’s condition on paper. When his father went to medical appointments, he forgot what he had told the doctor and misinterpreted the information.

“At ElderPrime, we really believe that doctor appointment is a good problem to solve… first we have some simple features to track the daily symptoms of the elderly: health symptoms, medications, vital statistics, questions for the doctor “, Parker said. “Then we take all of that and package it into the app and make it available for appointments.”

The app also records and transcribes the entire appointment.

“Once we’ve collected all of this data, we’re able to analyze health trends, run it through our algorithms, and then send people back recommendations about things they might want to talk to their doctor about. or things they might want. investigate further,” Parker said.

Nolan Beise is the founder of Circl, which offers brain-computer interface technology with a headset that interacts with an app and tracks cognitive performance.

“What I want to do is help people who need help and [for whom] “brain fog” is a problem. [It] is a general term that means the brain is not working as well as it used to and this is impacting your ability to work effectively,” he said.

The app involves participants playing a five-minute game, according to Beise.

“It measures your visual processing of strange events,” he said. “And the way our paleolithic brains are built is to understand information that wasn’t there before and to evaluate that information…So we’re measuring the delta between your information processing and new stimuli.”

The economic summit was held on October 26 and 27.

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