From nursing to earthquakes, recent BCIT grad Michelle Wan shows how cloud computing can help save lives

Imagine you’re an emergency room nurse treating a woman with a life-threatening injury. You need crucial medical information about her quickly. So you say, “Alexa, show me this patient’s data,” and everything you need instantly appears on the screen in front of you. Sounds more like a sci-fi movie than real life, doesn’t it? While Alexa-enabled medical assistance isn’t a reality yet, thanks to recent BCIT alumna Michelle Wan, it may be standard technology soon.

“The idea is that nurses can converse with Alexa to get patient data,” explains Michelle about the Alexa app she developed. “Traditionally, that information would be on paper but with this app, Alexa would be reading it from the information that’s been posted on the cloud.”

While one nurse works on a patient, the Alexa app can be taking notes or giving information, freeing up a second nurse—who would normally be taking notes for the first nurse—to help someone else.

The idea for this interdisciplinary innovation was first proposed by BCIT Nursing faculty. Working under the guidance of Bill Klug, BCIT Cloud Computing instructor, and Rob Kruger, BCIT Critical Care Nursing instructor, Michelle developed and presented the prototype app at a national nursing conference. The revolutionary app has since captured the attention of healthcare professionals and the media nationwide.

Talent in demand

The Alexa app is not the first time Michelle has worked on solving real-world challenges.

While still a student, she also worked on an app that manages and extracts data from a BCIT-created concrete strength tester. By collecting data, the app can help identify patterns and pinpoint areas that that may be vulnerable in the event of an earthquake. For earthquake-prone areas around the world, it could save lives.

Not surprisingly, Michelle’s work and talent caught the eye of software developer Elastic Path. Three months before graduating from BCIT, she was offered and accepted a job as a software engineer with the tech company. She completed her diploma in Computer Systems Technology (Cloud Computing) in February 2019.

“My instructors really helped me grow and also gave me a lot of opportunities,” she says about her time at BCIT. “But I had to work for those opportunities, too. But that’s life, right? Nothing is placed in front of you. You have to work for it.”

A problem-solver at heart

A problem-solver at heart, Michelle welcomes opportunities that come with challenges—even when she’s not working.

“I like fixing electronics, like old game electronics,” she says, admitting she’s running out of space for her hobby. “I love diagnosing a problem, figuring out what the source is, and then finding a way to repair it. I love solving problems.”

As a high-achieving student, valedictorian nominee, and student leader, she exemplifies BCIT’s commitment to innovation, collaboration, and excellence.

BCIT is proud to recognize Michelle with a 2019 BCIT Outstanding Student Leadership Award at the celebration gala on October 22, 2019.

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