For the eighth episode of MindSea’s Moving Digital Health podcast, CEO Reuben Hall speaks with Loreen Wales—a registered dietitian with dual degrees in nutrition and psychology. After managing her private clinical practice Revive Wellness for over 15 years, Loreen recently founded My Viva Plan to create a digital health platform her experience showed her that patients need. She brings both private and public-sector perspectives to this conversation.
Loreen began her career in chronic disease management at the University of Alberta Hospital, where she focused on kidney disease and concomitant health conditions. An encounter with a hostile audience very early in her tenure there opened her eyes to the frustration patients with chronic diseases felt with the healthcare system. When Loreen dug in looking for answers, she learned that patients were getting conflicting information from their varying specialists and then being dismissed when they failed to follow through on contradictory instructions. With more than 1500 patients under her care, Loreen set out to solve the problems she’d identified, appointment by appointment.
Loreen shares the results of her efforts in that early healthcare role and the learnings she has carried forward into her career since then. The siloed nature of our healthcare system, Loreen argues, puts it at odds with overall health, in which mental and physical health are inextricably linked. She illuminates the critical role patient engagement plays in health outcomes and how she has acted on that knowledge, plus some of the difficulties she faced while trying to provide the level of care and attention she knew her patients would benefit from.
It was Loreen’s determination to set things right rather than accept the status quo that eventually led her to the digital health space. She relates how she and her team developed My Viva Plan, and she and Reuben discuss the challenges and considerations involved in creating a healthcare app. Loreen describes her experiences grappling with ethical gamification and with rigorous certifications, and how her team has deftly minimized privacy concerns.
Loreen’s tenacity is inspiring, and her well-informed insights into the healthcare field and its future potential make for an engaging conversation. We thank her for joining us to share her story and key takeaways from her journey as a healthcare provider, and we hope you’ll enjoy her episode of Moving Digital Health.