Dr. Brent Ohata, a Burnaby rheumatologist, is one of eight finalists who is competing for $200,000 as part of the Arthritis Society’s Arthritis Ideator Program, which is looking to help grow ideas, projects or ventures that could help improve the lives of the six million Canadians living with arthritis.
Ohata created RheumVision, a virtual consultation service for patients in rural B.C., enabling them to connect quickly with a rheumatologist while in their family physician’s office.
“RheumVision is the only rheumatology service in Canada that provides instantaneous video advice to rural GPs. Other similar services provide advice by telephone, which is intrinsically less accurate as a physical exam cannot be performed,” Ohata told the NOW.
Ohata will be making his pitch in Toronto on April 21 to a panel of VIP judges that their innovation is deserving of one of the first three Arthritis Ideator Awards. A fourth grant will be given to the People’s Choice Award winner, for which voting is currently taking place.
“Arthritis is a huge challenge looking for solutions and we want to support bright minds as they create those solutions,” said Trish Barbato, president and CEO of the Arthritis Society. “We need bold ideas to help improve the lives of people living with arthritis.”
Ohata was asked what he will use the $200,000 for if he wins the grant.
“The idea is while harnessing telehealth and harnessing technology, we can allocate resources a little bit more fairly throughout the province and improve access to care for people who otherwise really struggle to see any specialist,” said Ohata.