2022 Olga Munari Arthritis Ideator Award Winner
The idea: OPERAS
The ideator: Dr. Linda Li
The solution: An app-based program to empower active self-care, capturing information on the go, and providing trends on symptoms, disease activity and treatments for people with arthritis.
Dr. Linda Li, a professor and researcher at Arthritis Research Canada, is also a licensed physiotherapist who has treated many patients with rheumatoid arthritis.
“Over the years, I have heard from people that it’s hard to recall and describe changes in their symptoms to their healthcare providers, especially when they are tired and in a lot pain during a clinic visit,” Li says.
This vagueness about their symptoms and its patterns led Li and her colleagues to create OPERAS, a web platform that allows people living with rheumatoid arthritis to track and monitor their symptoms to get a full picture of their health and any patterns that emerge.
“Eight years ago, we worked with a group of patients with arthritis and did a survey about how digital technology could help. What we learned was that people wanted to use technology to help track their day-to-day symptoms and manage their health,” says Li. “This inspired us to develop a digital platform for people to see their symptoms in patterns. When people can see their own patterns between what they do and how they experience their symptoms over time, they are better equipped for self-care.”
Li and colleagues will use Arthritis Society Canada’s Olga Munari Arthritis Ideator Award funding to do a full market assessment to determine the commercialization and go-to-market strategy for the OPERAS platform. About one of every 100 adults in Canada has rheumatoid arthritis and could benefit from it.
“Knowing we have the possibility to move something from the research space into the hands of people and healthcare professionals is thrilling,” Li says. “We are so happy to have this opportunity.”
“Knowing we have the possibility to move something from the research space into the hands of people and healthcare professionals is thrilling.”