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WeCounsel Solutions, An Online Therapy Innovation

Submitted on February 06, 2013

What problem are you intending to solve?

WeCounsel is a distance treatment solution for therapists; our customized videoconferencing feature provides an alternative to in-person therapy for those unable to physically make it to the office.

What is the technological approach, or development roadmap?

WeCounsel Solutions is a HIPAA compliant cloud based service currently being built on Ruby on Rails. We currently have the front end interface and our SQL database completed, and have already signed a cash/equity deal with our developers Black Snow Media to complete our back end development. We are using OpenTok from TokBox for our video conferencing and another open source code for our scheduling system. However, our billing software will be licensed from a third party HIPAA compliant vendor. We are focusing heavily on our security, real-time video, and audio feed quality. Security is very important due to the inherent sensitivity of client information being stored online. We are storing our data at a HIPAA compliant data center with SSL encryption and firewalls in place in order to meet HIPAA standards. Other measures will also be taken internally. The quality of our video conferencing system is also quite important since online therapy is most effective when a therapist can read a client's body language without any video or audio delays. We will be building out our own Flash Player to mitigate any potential audio or video quality issues.

Gigabit Internet speed will enhance the quality of delivery for WeCounsel's video conferencing software allowing for more effective therapy sessions. WeCounsel is located in the Gig City, Chattanooga, so we can take advantage of the fastest Internet speeds available.

How will end users interact with it, and how will they benefit?

WeCounsel Solutions will allow therapists to maintain their entire practice online if they wish. Once a verified therapist has created an account and invited their clients into their network the online interaction can begin. Professionals from their own profile can access all clients and client materials, view colleague connections, send messages, schedule appointments, and initiate video conferencing sessions. Therapists may also add fellow colleagues to their network and interact with them via messaging and/or private profile wall posts. Our product allows therapists to effectively and efficiently interact with their clients as well as colleagues. On the other end, clients can use their profiles as a home base while they are in treatment. They will be able to keep written journals, access short hand notes from sessions, message their therapist, and complete and submit assessments or homework exercises. Benefits For Therapists: - Utilize WeCounsel’s high powered/customized therapy interaction features (web conferencing, worksheets, and note taking) - Efficient organization of client materials - Offer a better rounded service to clients, more dynamic interaction options - Work from the comfort of home and save on office overhead - Offer more flexible office hours - Store client records and maintain scheduling with clients - Collaborative software: upload/download documents to site - Expand your client base by creating an "open profile" where potential clients can veiw your page - Use if long term clients move - Less office clutter: go green Benefits For Clients: ● Enhanced experience through high powered/customized therapy interaction features (web conferencing, worksheets, written/video journal, note taking ability, libraries, linked profiles, etc…) ● Useful option if client is too busy or travels for work ● Useful option if client has long commute ● Maintain anonymity ● Maintain privacy ● General convenience ● Useful for those that live in rural areas, less served ● Redues initial embarrassment ● Use if client moves away but doesn't want to start over with someone new ● Comfort of talking from home

How will your app leverage the 1Gbps, sliceable and deeply programmable network?

WeCounsel will need to hold large amounts of data due to accumulating aggregates of stored client information. On top of this, our site will be supporting a large number of simultaneous video conferences. In order for this service to be successful we need an advanced, high speed network to support it. We can't afford to sacrifice the quality of service delivered due to lagging Internet and data retrieval issues. This is a product of the future and needs to be sustained by the technology of the future.

Further application information

Will your work be beta-ready by the end of the Development Challenge?

Our team has already completed the back end for the therapist and patient registration, embedded and tweaked our open source calendar system, and embedded OpenTok as our videoconferencing system. We have done multiple in house mock trial sessions and two mock sessions with actual therapists in order to receive customer feedback. We will have a minimal viable product alpha test ready by May 3rd. Features will include: therapist search, therapist/client profiles, interactive calendars, scheduling, videoconferencing, and note-taking.

How much effort do you expect this work to take?

We have contracted a cash/equity deal with our developers, Blacksnow Media, to finish the back-end development and will have a minimal viable product alpha test ready by May 3rd. Total working hours for the site = 1,018hrs. As mentioned previously, we will be developing our own in-house flash player. This will be done on a parallel track to the rest of the site's development. We will need a developer expirienced in flash development working on this for approximately 3 weeks. Work will start on this no earlier than April 17th.

Do you need help?

We are looking for 2 developers who would like to join our team. One of these will be a Head Developer that will work closely with the other developer handling debugging and building out new and updated versions of our features.

If you can help let them know in the comments below.

WeCounsel Solutions, LLC

and team members

WeCounsel's management team comprises three members: Joshua Goldberg is our CTO, he is studying Management Information Systems at the University of Georgia. Joshua has a working knowledge of HTML, Photoshop, SQL, data modeling, and information technology. He currently manages the development of the site and its design and will play an important role during our product's back end development. Riley Draper is our CCO (Chief Communications Officer), he is a senior at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga studying writing and rhetoric. Riley is responsible for recruiting mentors/advisers and nurturing those relationships. He also plays a major role as the head of marketing. Lastly, Riley heads up media interaction and writes our press releases. I am Harrison Tyner and I am the CEO and Financial Officer for WeCounsel. I am a recent graduate of the University of South Carolina with degrees in Global Supply Chain and Operations Mgmt, and Finance. I am responsible for the leadership and day to day operation of the company. I am spearheading the continuous research initiative to support the viability of online therapy and WeCounsel specifically. Consequently, I manage relationships with beta testers. Lastly, as I have a financial degree in investments, I am in charge of company finances and investment recruitment. Born and raised in Chattanooga, TN, all three of us are looking to take advantage of the Gig City's technological resources. Also, this is an important endeavor for us as we all have had specific experiences in mental health, personally or with loved ones, that have driven us to advance the boundaries of therapy treatment methods.

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