Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland Coláiste Ríoga na Máinleá in Éirinn

10 Minutes with ...

31 March 2016

This month, we speak to Avril Copeland (Physiotherapy, Class of 2010) who's recently launched TickerFit, an online platform which supports patients by enabling health professionals to prescribe, educate and monitor their recovery remotely via smartphone.

 

Tell us about TickerFit. Where did the idea come from, what is your involvement?
TickerFit was an idea I had while I was working as a physiotherapist in Beaumont Hospital. I spent a lot of time supporting patients' rehabilitation on the ward, however when non-orthopaedic patients were being discharged, I only had that one opportunity to give them all the education and exercise advice they would need for the next few months of their recovery. I knew through the use of technology I could extend my reach as a health professional and continue to support my patients when they had been discharged home.

I pitched the idea to Enterprise Ireland and got some initial investment, which helped me build a working prototype. Greg Balmer, my co-founder, has lots of experience in developing very successful technology solutions, so with Greg on-board, we now have a web based platform which enables health professionals prescribe, deliver and monitor rehabilitation programmes to patients remotely.

We also have smartphone applications for patients, which enables them to receive their personalised programme, keep connected with their health professional and complete their recovery programme. Our initial focus is supporting patients during cardiac and oncology rehabilitation, however have plans to support patients living and recovering from other conditions.

Our website is: www.tickerfit.com

 

What has been the highlight of your career to date?
I have had quite a random and varied career to date. I have worked as a sound engineer in Nashville, Tennessee, a tour manager for country music singers, a physiotherapist and now a business owner. The highlight of my career to date is definitely where I am now: combining my passion for technology and healthcare. In 2015 we won the National Healthcare Innovation Award when TickerFit was chosen by senior directors of the HSE and other healthcare professionals - being recognised by the healthcare industry has definitely been my personal highlight.

 

In your career, where do you want to be in the next 5-10 years?
I would still love to be working in my current field. We have a big vision to support patients all over the world whom are recovering from a hospital stay or whom need support to maintain their quality of life. This may take a few more years!

 

What advice would you give to recent graduates embarking on their career?
Steve Jobs spoke about how we can't connect the dots going forward, but that we can only connect the dots looking back. While I have had a non-linear career path (some may say haphazard!), if I look back, each and everything I did brought me to where I am now.

I'm a big believer in following your gut, whether that is following your parents' footsteps or doing something completely off the grid. You will never regret what feels right, right now.

 

What do you like to do in your spare time?
I have always been involved in sport and exercise. I currently take part in expedition adventure racing, so much of my spare time is training on the bike or on foot. Most recently I moved to London with work, so I'm also doing a lot of exploring!

 

What did you enjoy most about your time in RCSI?
I have lots of great memories from RCSI. The nerd in me loved anatomy class. I was, and still am, fascinated by it. I also loved my time on placement, particularly in Beaumont.