Leamington entry wins international health event’s top prize


May 5, 2015 – By Windsor Star

The experience gained from the three-day Windsor-Detroit Hacking Health event was the real prize, but a combined team of students and health-care professionals from Leamington decided if you’re in it you might as well win it.

The decision by the Leamington District Memorial Hospital and Leamington District Secondary School to partner proved an inspired one when the locals walked away with top spot and $12,000 worth of awards this past weekend.

“The experience was phenomenal. We got to see how the workforce feels and looks like. I found it cool and interesting.”

Grade 10 student Isabelle Gossen, one of four students
on the team along with Alyson Skidmore, Tam Do and JoAnn Weil.

The Leamington team’s goal was to create a mental health app for teenagers to help them chart their experiences and communicate that information to their health-care provider. It would also serve as an electronic medical file. They knew they might be onto something special Friday when the Leamington team received an avalanche of offers from skilled people looking to aid them in bringing their idea to life.

Four members of St. Clair College’s Web Club (Meghan O’Donnell, Meagan Park, Colin Thompson and Lori Dunford) offered up their webpage designing and animation skills.

They also drew the interest of Tony Potts, director, strategy and operations, McKesson health solutions, and Al Carpinelli, account executive, logic solutions and MTAM Health Advisory Council board member.

In all, 15 people formed the Leamington team making it the largest one to ever be assembled at a Hacking Health event.

“It gave us a sense what it’s like to work under pressure to see real-life situations,” Tam Do said. “Winning was great, but it was the experience that was most important to me.”

Having done a lot of the groundwork in advance, the Leamington team was able to break up into design, business side and presentation groups.

The judges were particularly impressed with the innovative idea of including high school students in the creative process.

“Our slogan was, “For Youth, From Youth,” said Grade 10 student Weil. “Adults wouldn’t understand how we want the app to look visually and how we want to use it. That’s where we came in.”

Lauren Omstead, who was a software developer before becoming a computer science teacher at Leamington, marvelled at the role her students played.

“Learning to bring a product to life, seeing the transformation, that’s hard to replicate in a classroom,” said Omstead, who along with fellow teacher Carrie Grossi oversaw the high school component of the team.

“The team was almost all female too. It’s exciting to see that with women under-represented in the STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, math.)”

Zain Ismail, Leamington hospital’s lead on this project as manager of innovation and partnerships, said he plans to tap students as a future resource.

“I’d love to hire them as my support staff,” Ismail said. “They’re so passionate about what they do.”

The next step in the project is to turn the web-based app into a mobile app. That will take some money and time.

Ismail is confident the app touches so many of the right bases that financial backing won’t be an issue.

He’s already been contacted by a group at the University of Michigan interested in knowing more about the project.

“I think we won because our team was very specific and narrow in what we were doing,” Ismail said. “I think this is something that can be used across the province and across the border. I don’t think money is going to be a problem.”

Valérie DoréLeamington entry wins international health event’s top prize
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Hacking Health Builds Apps and Bridges

HH Prez - Hacking Health Builds Apps and Bridges

May 11, 2015 – By WEtech Alliance

Kaitlyn Sheehan—a Registered Nurse—had an idea for a mobile app that could improve health care on both sides of the Detroit-Windsor border.

Her cross-border idea likely emerged from her dual employment as an RN at the Windsor Regional Hospital Cardiac Catherization Lab and the Cardiothoracic Intensive Care Unit at Harper University Hospital in the Detroit Medical Center.

She called her app Stent Tracker – a web-based app synched to a patient’s smartphone that allows them to store their cardiac stent information, manage and schedule their medication list, and provides an educational tool on heart health after a patient undergoes coronary angioplasty.

Kaitlyn understands hearts and heart patients. What she lacked is the tech chops to bring her mobile app to life.

Enter Hacking Health Windsor Detroit – the first cross-border Hacking Health in the world organized by TechTown Detroit, WEtech Alliance and Hackforge that brought together over 200 professionals and students from the Health Care and IT sectors.

Over the May 1st weekend, Kaitlyn and other nurses, doctors, pharmacists and hospital administrators teamed up with programmers, designers and business mentors at TechTown Detroit—a business incubator minutes from the US-Canada tunnel—to dream up, design and build mobile applications for health care.

At the kick-off on Friday night, Kaitlyn joined thirty other innovators who pitched their ideas to a packed house at TechTown. By Saturday morning, she had recruited two other medical students from McMaster University and two programmers.

The programmers were part of a team of tech mentors provided by Next Healthcare Technologies – a spinoff startup from a longstanding Windsor-based IT company called Next Dimension. Further highlighting the promise of a cross-border health corridor, Next Healthcare had recently launched out of TechTown Detroit to go after the American market.

And there’s the magic– a cross-border nurse teaming up with a cross-border tech startup at the first cross-border Hacking Health in the world.

On Sunday afternoon the teams returned to the podium to present their prototypes to a star-studded panel of judges that included the following:

Dr. Chris Rizik – CEO at Renaissance Venture Capital Fund

Al Robertson – Director at Seneca Partners

Dr. Ketan Patel – Founder and Partner at Next Healthcare Technologies

Dr. Ibraheem Badejo – Senior Director New Ventures at Johnson & Johnson Innovation

Nicole Sleiman – Program Director at EPICentre

Dennis W. Archer Jr. – President and CEO of Ignition Media Group

Levi Stubbs III – Director of Corporate Development, Community Affairs and Diversity Procurement at Camryn Group/IMA

Stent Tracker was awarded two prizes—the Overall Judges Favourite and the Highest Potential for Adoption, which included registration to the eHealth Conference in Toronto and six months of commercialization support from WEtech Alliance and the Downtown Windsor Business Accelerator.

A total of $30,000 worth of prizes were handed out to a number of teams.

The prize for Best Caregiver/Patient Management App and Best Clinical App were awarded to Dr. Michael Lanham from University of Michigan Health System and his team for On Track – an In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF) app. The awards include commercialization support from Henry Ford Innovation Institute and SPARK Ann Arbor.

A team comprising students from Wayne State University, University of Michigan and Oakland University received both the Best Student Team from the U.S. and the People’s Choice Award for PRN Care – a location-based app that connects certified individual home care providers together with families seeking care for elderly family members. The award includes incubator space and commercialization support through the DTX Launch program at TechTown Detroit in addition to four MYO remote-control wristbands.

The Best Student Team from Canada prize was handed to a truly unique and collaborative effort. The only high school students in the competition came from Leamington District Secondary School and they teamed up with Leamington District Memorial Hospital and tech mentors from St. Clair College to develop a student designed mental health app for students called The Moment. As part of the prize, the tech mentors from St. Clair College were invited to participate in the EPIC Founders program at the University of Windsor’s EPICentre – an invaluable summer commercialization program with $6,000 in cash per participant.

The Highest Potential for Social/Patient Impact prize was given to a mobile app called Caregiver Connect, which improves communication between providers of healthcare services to long-term care residents and their families/caregivers. The prize included incubator space and mentoring at TechTown’s Junction 440.

Although we learned it’s a very Canadian thing to say that all participants came away winners – that simply was the truth.

In addition to prizes – the participants had the opportunity to listen to inspiring speakers such as Dr. Ketan Patel – a doctor turned tech entrepreneur – who talked about the need to find and follow your own entrepreneurial spark.

The Consul and Trade Commissioner for the Consulate General of Canada – Sebastien Roy – talked about the promise of cross-border collaboration, while Dr. Steven Lanier—Vice President of Research at Wayne State University—was enthusiastic about the innovation cluster bubbling beneath the surface.

Additional speakers included Ward Detwiler – Project Manager at Henry Ford Innovations; Nicole Sleiman – Program Director at EPICentre; and Marty Carmody – Senior Accounts Manager at Microsoft. All brought inspiration.

Participants came as innovators and left as entrepreneurs – energized and armed with new networks and new resources as they begin to traverse the road from ideation to commercialization.

Many will return next year when Windsor hosts the next Hacking Health. In the meantime – less formal Hacking Health Cafes are planned to keep the cross-border conversation going. For information on how to get involved in both contact WEtech Alliance or TechTown Detroit.

For the region – TechTown Detroit and WEtech Alliance established yet another bridge for deeper cross-border collaboration that will hopefully catalyze regional innovation and economic development.

Thanks to the over 30 partners who supported this groundbreaking effort including:

Gold Sponsors:

  • Wayne State University
  • EPICentre at the University of Windsor
  • Ontario Centres of Excellence
  • Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs

Silver Sponsors:

  • Windsor Regional Hospital
  • Next Healthcare Technologies
  • New Economy Initiative

Bronze Sponsors:

  • Hotel-Dieu Grace Healthcare
  • Madonna University
  • University of Michigan – Fast Forward Medical Innovation
  • Leamington District Memorial Hospital
  • St. Clair College
  • Henry Ford Health System
  • Oakland University

Community Partners:

  • Transform
  • Downtown Windsor Business Accelerator
  • Ivey Business School
  • Thalmic Labs
  • MTAM
  • makerOS
  • Renaissance Venture Capital Fund
  • University of Detroit Mercy
  • Ann Arbor Spark
  • Kind Snack
  • Office Depot

Global Sponsors:

  • Business Development Bank of Canada
  • Fasken Martineau
  • Canada Health Infoway
  • Microsoft
  • Maison Jeanne Sauve
  • Sparkboard
  • 360 Medlink
Valérie DoréHacking Health Builds Apps and Bridges
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Ph. D. student’s application receives two awards at Detroit Hacking Health hackathon

Hacking Health

Paula Lauren (fourth from left) competed at Hacking Health in Detroit last month, and received awards for her group’s app, “CarePRN.”

June 23, 2015 – By Oakland University

For Paula Lauren, Oakland University Computer Science and Informatics Ph.D. student, work time is often solitary and intense.

But when she recently attended Windsor—Detroit Hacking Health — a hackathon programming competition focused on the healthcare industry, and the first one to be hosted “cross-border,” five minutes from Windsor in Techtown Detroit — she said she enjoyed working together in a team and creating something that can help others.

“The whole (hackathon) experience was very intense and exciting,” Lauren said.

“I’m a Ph.D. student and doctorate work is a lonely and laborious process. For example, it has taken me months to implement a complicated machine learning algorithm and a lot of time is often spent alone. I was expecting to meet new people and work collaboratively on solving a problem by the end of the weekend, which is what actually happened.”

The projects had to be something to improve the healthcare system, “by inviting technology creators and healthcare professionals to collaborate on realistic, human-centric solutions to front-line problems,” according to the Hacking Health website.

Students pitched their ideas, and teams were formed at the beginning of the weekend. After getting together, the teams had under 48 hours to work together to develop their application to get it ready for judging.

“The biggest challenge in a hackathon is time management,” Lauren said. “If you think about it, understanding and solving a business problem with a technical solution in 24 to 48 hours is far from realistic. In fact, it’s absurd that we were determined to create a production-ready system in such a short time frame. Perhaps, it’s the ambiance of a hackathon that makes you let go of what’s practical and shoot for the impossible. “

Lauren’s group’s application, CarePRN, which she said “leverages the Uber model for caregivers in home healthcare,” bringing caregivers and careseekers together for providing instantaneous and scheduled care as needed.

“The suffix of PRN in CarePRN stands for ‘Pro re nata” which is Latin for ‘as the situation demands,’” Lauren said. “Especially with the proliferation of Mobile Health, nursing homes are transitioning to enabling elders to stay in their home which is also known as aging-in-place.”

According to Lauren, the app has potential for regular use, and with the constant growth in Mobile Health there’s a lot of data that’s going to be generated especially with the proliferation of home healthcare sensors that’s making it safer for elders to stay at home.

“The knowledge that I’ve acquired in the OU computer science and informatics program has certainly provided me with an excellent foundation in predictive analytics for handling the deluge of sensor data,” Lauren said.

Her group received the “Best Student Team from the U.S.” and the “People’s Choice Award” for the app.

While in-class learning is important, Lauren said hackathons are an enjoyable and fulfilling experience, because they provide a unique, real-world perspective in application development.

“Hackathons require you to get comfortable with discomfort very quickly,” Lauren said.

“There’s a real-life problem, and hackathons will definitely put your technical, people and organizational skills to the test. It’s really an incredible learning experience and a lot of fun. But forget the awards and prizes. I don’t think that students should participate in a hackathon just for that because there’s an even greater reward. When you feel like you’ve pushed yourself beyond your own limitations and delivered beyond your own expectations, that is the greatest feeling in the world.”

For more information about the Computer Science and Informatics program, visit http://wwwp.oakland.edu/secs/doctoral-programs/computer-sciences-and-informatics/

Valérie DoréPh. D. student’s application receives two awards at Detroit Hacking Health hackathon
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Hacking Health connects tech groups with health care

Hacking Health connects tech groups with health care

Faysal Naji (far right) is a recent graduate from McMaster’s MD program and currently undergoing a 5-year residency program in vascular surgery at McMaster. Faysal was part of the winning team Stent Trackr at the Hacking Health Windsor-Detroit in May 2015, the first cross-boarder Hackathon. Stent Trackr was awarded “Judge’s Favorite” and “Project Most Likely to be Implemented”.

July 20, 2015 – Hamilton Spectator

Here’s the problem:

Technology professionals interested in e-health care may know how to build something, but don’t always know what health care needs.

And doctors know what they need, but often don’t know how to build it.

What has become an international hacking movement is slowly closing that gap.

“When you bring these two groups together, it’s magic,” said Simon Woodside, entrepreneur and community organizer for Hacking Health Hamilton.

Recently, Woodside hosted the third Hacking Health Café at McMaster University, luring a variety of tech developers, health professionals and designers to present their ideas and network.

The innovation forum started in the city a year ago but Hacking Health and their annual weekend-long “Hackathon” workshops have infected cities across Canada, originating in Montreal in 2012.

The goal: bridging innovation and technology with health care, around the world.

Leo Godreault, 28, a nurse at St. Joseph’s Hospital, went to the first Hacking Café night in March and left with a job — a rare occurrence for a first ever event, according to Woodside.

Working in the front line of a hospital, daily, Godreault had the knowledge the Toronto-based health-care startup “Shift Alerts” needed for its nurse management app. The two would have never connected if it wasn’t for that Hacking Health Hamilton Café.

“In the old days, everything was in divots and events like this bring everyone into the same room,” he said.

Convincing the startup to move to McMaster Innovation Park, Goderault is now a lead entrepreneur on the team that will be implementing Shift Alerts into Toronto and Hamilton hospitals.

At the Windsor Hackathon this year, 23-year-old Faysal Naji, completing his five-year residency program in vascular surgery at McMaster, developed his team and their idea for the Stent Tracker app.

Numerous people who have had heart disease or surgery will have stents implanted, but cannot remember information about the stents for future appointments.

So when the patient needs to access that information quickly at a medical visit for example, Stent Tracker can store that information and make it accessible for physicians.

“The concept is simple, but the ripple effect will be much greater,” said Naji.

Since March, Naji and their team have been working to bring the app to fruition after winning the Hackathon’s “Project Most Likely to be Implemented” award.

Hacking Health Hamilton will host its first Hackathon in February of 2016. Registration is available online.

Valérie DoréHacking Health connects tech groups with health care
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Windsor nurse’s health-care app idea a winner

Kaitlyn SheehanMay 12, 2015 – By Windsor Star

Kaitlyn Sheehan felt like the kid picked last for the team.

Her pitch for help to develop her idea of an app aimed at patients with cardiac stents went unanswered on the first day of the recent Windsor-Detroit Hacking Health event in Detroit.

“I went home that Friday night and thought about just going to watch my son’s travel hockey tryouts Saturday,” said Sheehan, a registered nurse who splits her time in the cardiac catheter labs at Windsor Regional Hospital (Ouellette campus) and Detroit’s Harper Hospital.

“Then I thought, ‘I’ve paid to enter anyway I might as well go over see what happens because it was pretty interesting.”

“I was so passionate about this idea. I wanted to fulfil it.”

In the next two days, Sheehan’s idea went from unwanted to unmatched.

Her app called Stent Tracker was named the Judges’ Overall Favourite and took the award for the Highest Potential For Adoption.

The web-based app allows patients to store their cardiac stent information, manage their medication list, schedule reminders when to take their meds and provides education on heart health and coronary angioplasty.

With the win, she got an invitation to the eHealth Conference in Toronto worth $2,800 and six months of commercialization support from WEtech Alliance and the Downtown Windsor Business Accelerator.

“Right now, patients have to carry cards around with their stent information to give to health-care providers,” the 24-year-old Sheehan said. “People forget or lose them. If you have multiple stents, you may need more than one card.

“(The app) was an idea that came out of talking to a friend about the problem. Instead of sitting there complaining, I thought of trying to come up with a solution.”

Part of the solution was not giving up on her idea after the initial rejection.

Her persistence was rewarded when London-based physician Dr. Ketan Patel, two medical students and two computer programmers from Next Healthcare Technologies — a spinoff from the Windsor-based IT company Next Dimension — joined her team.

“The biggest challenge was the teamwork required,” Sheehan said. “Everyone had different ideas you want to incorporate in it. The programmers were brilliant, so they had no problem creating what we needed.”

The next step is the commercialization of the app.

Sheehan hopes to make some connections at the Toronto conference and build on the relationships she’s already established. She intends to start her own company to launch the product with the help of the business consulting help she’ll receive.

Sheehan said her experience at the event was invaluable for someone with an entrepreneurial mind.

“I’ve had ideas, but I didn’t know how to make them happen,” Sheehan said. “This has given me the resources and knowledge on how to bring future ideas to life.”

Having a foot on either side of the border in health care, Sheehan said the event also opened her eyes to the possible opportunities of creating a cross-border medical hub in the area.

“I think the most important thing I learned is you can create something right here because of all the talented people in the area,” Sheehan said.

“They are different health-care systems with different points of view so that makes for many different ideas out there. An event like this is the perfect thing to bring those ideas together.”

Valérie DoréWindsor nurse’s health-care app idea a winner
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Nurse wins top award for mobile app design at Hacking Health

Nurse wins top award for mobile app design

A Windsor Regional Hospital nurse takes the top prize at an international competition where mobile “apps” for the health care sector are designed and developed.

Kaitlyn Sheehan conceptualized the app “Stent Tracker.” It’s a Web-based app that allows patients to store their cardiac stent information, manage their medication list, schedule reminders to take important medications, and provide an educational tool on heart health.

Kaitlyn Sheehan conceptualized the app “Stent Tracker.” It’s a Web-based app that allows patients to store their cardiac stent information, manage their medication list, schedule reminders to take important medications, and provide an educational tool on heart health.


Kaitlyn Sheehan, an RN in the cardiac catheterization lab at the hospital’s Ouellette campus, was the “Overall Judges Favourite” recipient at Hacking Health Windsor Detroit for the app she conceptualized called “Stent Tracker.” It’s a Web-based app that allows patients to store their cardiac stent information, manage their medication list, schedule reminders to take important medications, and provide an educational tool on heart health after a coronary angioplasty. With an app, all this information can be synced on a mobile device, rather than a patient card or pamphlet that could easily get lost.

Kaitlyn came up with the idea herself, and assembled a team to help her design a prototype for the app, which will be further developed this year.
“It was so exciting,” Kaitlyn says of the first annual Windsor-Detroit competition. “It had an amazing team – programmers, med students and myself – to create an app that can really help our patients.”

The idea by Kaitlyn, who also works at the Cardiothoracic ICU at Harper University Hospital at the DMC in Detroit, was so good that it was also judged as the app with the “Highest Potential for Adoption.”

“I think that winning at Hacking Health is now motivation to move forward with a company, further refine and commercialize StentTracker and bring my other ideas to life.”



“There are different health-care systems with different points of view so that makes for many different ideas out there. An event like this is the perfect thing to bring those ideas together.”


Valérie DoréNurse wins top award for mobile app design at Hacking Health
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