help

We have all made a trip to the drug store for medication at some point in our life. Yet, we see so many options that our minds are perplexed on what to choose to relieve our symptoms.

There is a way to make the right choice. Meet the Healp app. Developed by Fairfax Station resident Elizabeth Tikoyan, the app, initially named Riley, allows users to interact with other users’ real-life experiences when taking a product.

Users fill out a questionnaire on what they have used to treat their health conditions. Upon completion, the app then publishes the top solutions based on human input. Additionally, users can browse and share their results while also offering their own perspectives.

Tikoyan says the initial name was based on a girl (Riley) she met when volunteering at Georgetown Hospital. Riley’s name was given to the app as a way of remembering the girl who Tikoyan says was so full of energy and pomp. 

“We changed it to Healp is because I saw a lot of health apps out there that had the word health in it somewhere,” Tikoyan said. “I wanted to combine the two reasons why we started this.”

Tikoyan was also hoping to stake her claim as a successful entrepreneur. However, she had dealt with chronic illness for much of her life, including her time in high school at Trinity Christian, where she worked on creating a tampon company. Despite getting to a point where she had lined up manufacturers, her illness took a toll and forced her to take time off. 

“All my friends went off to college; I had to stay back and get treatment. It was really lonely,” Tikoyan said. “I also didn’t know if I was going to go back and live a normal life.”

Eventually, Tikoyan found her way to the University of Virginia after spending time at NOVA and graduated with a degree in Youth and Social Innovation.  It was in her second semester in Charlottesville, however, that the idea for Healp began to take shape. 

“I was in a class, and we’re reading an article about the least amount of innovation that was happening in the chronic illness space,” Tikoyan said. “And I started reflecting on that article pretty heavily.”

Tikoyan is quite surprised at how well this has shaken out for her, as she essentially went from being a patient to an entrepreneur. Also, it has allowed her to reach out to people who need help. The app currently operates online and iOs, with Android still in the waiting. 

“I know we’ve made a significant impact right now. But I know there’s so many more people we could reach,” Tikoyan said. “But I’m very happy with where we’re at.”

Tikoyan says the Department of Health and Human Services has reached out to them and endorsed their work. Though the pandemic has slowed progress, she used social media to help promote her work. Tikoyan says that her belief in her work is what helped make this possible and hopes it serves as a lesson for future entrepreneurs. 

To learn more about Healp and how it works, visit their website at https://bit.ly/3zfV53M. Additionally, it’s never too late to ask for help for your health. Don’t put it aside, join with others, share your experience, and get the help you need.

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