MEDIALPHA – Easier and faster access to lab tests

How do you revolutionize a healthcare system?

One way consists in cutting down waiting time and simplifying access to basic services, like blood or urine collection. Medialpha tackles a challenge common to most healthcare systems by facilitating collection services from the comfort of your home or office.


“Our platform is unique on the market – it used to take up to an hour to find the right service provider, we’ve cut that time down to 5 minutes.”

How Medialpha began

Medialpha was born from the friendship between Marina Staingart and Jean-Pierre Sabe-Affak. Jean-Pierre is a microbiologist with an experience in health services administration, providing him with great insight into the healthcare management system in Quebec. Marina followed a career in computer engineering and holds an M.B.A in finance – she traveled the world to discover the best practices in health care systems. Together, they created Medialpha, a Montreal-based company which provides healthcare services such a blood collection at patient’s home or office.

As doctors appointments’ waiting lists are getting longer and people’s timetable less and less flexible, basic healthcare services such as blood tests are not easily accessible. Patients can turn to the private system for requisitions but this can be costly, confusing and still time-consuming. Demand for such tests have also increased as insurance companies and preventive health practices have been emphasizing prevention over cure.

When Jean-Pierre and Marina enrolled in Hacking Health Montreal’s 2014 Hackathon, they were part of a bigger team who wanted to develop a solution for online appointment confirmation and wait list management. They credited this initial experience as a useful testing ground, as the hackathon allowed them to realize how well their ambition and values aligned with each other. Post-hackathon, they decided to tackle the problem by starting with a pain point that seemed easier to address: improving access to blood collection and testing.
This was the beginning of Medialpha, a company which seeks to transform how some of the basic healthcare services are delivered. “Empowering patients to have control of their schedule, and more importantly of their health, is at the core of our initial aspiration” explains co-founder Marina Staingart. “We credit our success to centering our business model on patient experience principles”.

In addition to being easy, affordable and safe, Medialpha is unique in the market and is currently growing partnerships with medical clinics, pharmacies but also insurance companies. More recently, ProMontreal Entrepreneurs provided $50k in funding to support the development their software platform – it is now fully operational and facilitates appointment booking according to location preferences.

How Medialpha works

Medialpha ensures patients will be matched with high-quality blood collection services who can operate from the comfort of their homes or offices. Patients chose the place and time of their appointment while Medialpha handles the paperwork and processing. “Our platform is unique on the market – it used to take up to an hour to find the right service provider, we’ve cut that time down to 5 minutes.” says Jean-Pierre Sabe-Affaki. “This represents important operational savings for clinics, nurses, or a private company like medical laboratory service providers or insurance providers”.

The concept is very simple:
-The patient sends his or her requisition via fax, email or online form on Medialpha’s website which then finds the best price on the market thanks to its proprietary software. Within 24-48h, Medialpha calls the patient to coordinate an appointment – a nurse is then sent to the patient’s house or office at his or her convenience. Medialpha also ensures the prescribing physician and patient receive the results via email.

What’s next for Medialpha?

Besides running pilot projects in 4 different clinics, Medialpha now offers administrative assistants to mobile nurses and has even extended its services to urine based tests and more specialized tests associated with allergies or reproductive health, facilitating access to over 500 different tests.

Valérie DoréMedialpha
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EYEWARE: Enabling interaction through face tracking technology

Eye Ware

How can you use face tracking technology to improve human-machine interaction ?

Eyeware has a grand vision: to give all computers, devices and robots the ability to understand people, with the help of next-generation machine vision algorithms. Thanks to its innovative eye tracking technology, complemented by head and face tracking, Eyeware opens the door to new applications in healthcare, robotics, consumer research, and social studies.

How EyeWare began

eyewareteamBy joining HH Valais’ 2015 Arkathon, PhD students Kenneth Funes and Carlos Becker were able to validate the application of Kenneth’s research on head tracking technology, a byproduct of his research on 3D gaze tracking, in a healthcare environment. 18 months later Eyeware co-founders are still going strong and focusing on releasing their first commercial venture.

Eyeware has a grand vision: to give all computers, devices and robots the ability to understand people, with the help of next-generation machine vision algorithms. Thanks to its innovative eye tracking technology, complemented by head and face tracking, Eyeware opens the door to new applications in healthcare, robotics, consumer research, and social studies. Their first product, Eyeware Assist, is a PC software that enables hands-free computer control for paralyzed people.

“The Arkathon was an opportunity to apply the research I was conducting into a concrete problem for patients at the Romand Rehabilitation Clinic (CRR)”

“The Arkathon was an opportunity to apply the research I was conducting into a concrete problem for patients at the Romand Rehabilitation Clinic (CRR)” explains Kenneth. At Idiap, a Swiss research institute for Human and Media Computing, he was developing cutting edge technology for which he was eager to employ in diverse applications, including healthcare. On the other hand the CRR had a number of patients without mobility in their arms which found current systems for computer control unsatisfactory, with only but a handful of companies developing solutions. Impressed by the demonstrator the team developed over the course of the Arkathon, the clinic offered them to their facilities, staff and patients to help support development post-hackathon and validate patient use.
This enabled the team, now joined by Idiap senior researcher Jean-Marc Odobez and entrepreneurs Serban Mogos and Bastjan Prenaj, to test, validate and refine the product.

Eyeware Assist

Post hackathon: getting to market, defining the offer

As grand prize winner for the Arkathon, the team also integrated The Ark’s e-health acceleration program, which was instrumental in supporting their go to market strategy. “Through this acceleration program, we want the projects developed at the Arkathon to be realized quickly and take full advantage of windows of opportunity in their respective markets,” says Sébastien Mabillard. He’s the coordinator for e-health projects for The Ark Foundation, a regional incubation and acceleration service which provides support not only for technology and business development but also for marketing, legal and medical.

Besides winning the $50,000 René Liechti Foundation award, and the International Create Challenge, Eyeware also gathered support from Swiss venture consortium Venture Kick, which also helped fuel the go to market work. Recently, they were amongst the finalists in the renown MassChallenge accelerator program.

What’s next?

In the process of developing their first product, the Eyeware team are aiming expand their offering to social behavior research, marketing, and social robotics, amongst others, as their software can support studies on human-human interaction, help understand consumer’s interests, and be a key component in human-perception algorithms for robots.

Their first product, EyeWare Assist, is about to hit the French and German markets. It provides users more than just a head and face controlled mouse, allowing them to stop, resume, scroll and even configure. By letting the device track his or her face features and movements, the patient is able to refine control and expand capabilities – even more interestingly, the software is able to learn and adapt to each user. It will become available for all platforms, and the team is working to find optimal channels for making their product easily available to their customers.


Valérie DoréEYEWARE: Enabling interaction through face tracking technology
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Hacking Health Camp


Hacking Health Camp


A 4-day international event and the largest European healthcare hackathon, Hacking Health Camp aims to inspire participants with world-class speakers, train them with 30 sessions, and give them a chance to act right away.

Inspiring conferences on the future of health followed by pitches from European health startups. // Training workshops on new health technologies, legal aspects, design, for everyone! // A weekend-long hackathon to build prototypes

Each day is designed to inspire health professionals, designers, hackers, makers and entrepreneurs, with the event culminating in the hackathon to allow them to collaborate. It’s an event for anyone interested in health innovation as it rallies health and tech professionals around their common interests, helping them discover amazing possibilities for tomorrow’s health.

Hacking Health Camp attracts some of the most brilliant minds who share their views on the future of healthcare, teach everything there is to know about health data, pitch great startups, and build new solutions onsite, in 54 hours.

We all regret we were not in Steve Jobs’ garage in the 80’s, but in 30 years, you will be able to say that you were here in Strasbourg, today…

Uwe Diegel, iHealth President





Valérie DoréHacking Health Camp
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eHealth Toronto & Vancouver


eHealth Toronto & Vancouver

Working with National Health IT Societies

Hacking Health partnered with eHealth, Canada Health Infoway, COACH, the Canadian Institute of Health Informatics, national sponsor Desjardins Insurance and local sponsor Gevity to deliver a high impact design challenge.

Hacking Health - eHealth
160 participants, 26 projects, and a massive dose of youth and energy for the national eHealth conference. // Inspiring kick-off + 8-week duration + bi-weekly work sessions + final 3-day sprint = Spectacular demos and projects

Launched at the Center for Digital Media in Vancouver in 2016, and at the OTN day in Toronto in 2015, the Design Challenge culminated in the national eHealth conference. The competing teams showcased impressive projects and injected a massive dose of youth, energy and innovation in the conference program. The 8 week format allowed them to develop momentum and partnerships hardly possible in a traditional hackathon. Some, like iUGO Health, even went on to become highly successful digital health startups.

Hacking Health is doing great things across the country. We thought: Let’s join forces and go further together!

Glenn Lanteigne,
Board Director, COACH: Canada’s Health Informatics Association





Valérie DoréeHealth Toronto & Vancouver
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Based on a background of initiating digital health projects and mobilizing regional hospitals in Valais with Hacking Health, the Ark Foundation has launched a major health-tech cluster initiative: Swiss Digital Health®.

2015 winners Eyeware virtual mouse // 2016 jury’s favorite MeasureMe

Swiss Digital Health® aims to initiate and empower ambitious projects to improve global healthcare systems – with reputable Swiss solutions. The initiative begins by detecting unmet and emerging needs. The intended outcome? The successful market launch of new solutions, The initiative intends to breathe innovation into each stage of the health value chain. Through targeted Hacking Health events, innovation challenges, design workshops, special trainings, hackathons or acceleration programs, Swiss Digital Health® is backing abilities and nurturing opportunities. With Hacking Health being an integral part of the cluster, it fosters international collaborations and helps to expand the digital health business and innovation network.

Hacking Health helps us be part of a dynamic ecosystem integrating local, national and international stakeholders and to initiate ambitious projects.

Sebastien Mabillard, leader,
Swiss Digital Health


CHF 1st prize


French & German-speaking

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Innovate Healthcare Nationwide



Collaboration and design thinking

In May 2015 Hacking Health Milano hosted Italy’s first-ever health hackathon. Since then, it has ramped up to mobilize the whole nation using design thinking to re-invent health services.

HH Milano established a national network of engaged hospitals
HH Milano shared the process and its outcome with the public. // HH Milano established a national network of engaged hospitals

18 months later, for their second annual event, Hacking Health Milano succeeded in engaging not one, but an amazing 11 hospitals and national healthcare systems in their process. This year HH Milano decided to focus on design thinking and engage participants in a much longer challenge.

By setting up a 9-month long collaboration with leading university Milano-Bicocca, HH Milano allowed over 100 students from diverse backgrounds to gain insights into patient journeys and staff challenges.

It’s part of my job to scout for new ideas and assess their value. We’re part of a network of 29 hospitals which share innovative ideas…

Dr. Raffaele Benaglio
Innovation Officer, Home Care,
Milano Don Gnocchi Hospital





Valérie DoréInnovate Healthcare Nationwide
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Dutch Hacking Health


Dutch Hacking Health


One nation united to innovate healthcare.

Dutch Hacking Health
“Every person in the Netherlands needs healthcare somewhere in their life. You can change the way we deliver this care during Dutch Hacking Health. This is a nationwide event where people of different backgrounds come together to create new solutions for healthcare. Join Dutch Hacking Health!” Edith Schippers, Dutch Minister of Health, Welfare & Sport // Erik Gerritsen, Secretary-General of the Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport, with national winning team.

In 2015, the REshape Center for Innovation of Radbound University Medical Center was contemplating a hackathon to shake up their institution. Instead of going it alone in their local community, they chose to join forces with Hacking Health and play a leading role on a global scale. In 2016, with a bold vision to mobilize their whole nation around healthcare innovation, four Dutch University Medical Centers, – Leiden UMC, Maastricht UMC, UMC Groningen and Radboud UMC -, took their country by storm and created Dutch Hacking Health. For the first time ever, a ‘health hackathon’ was held in a nation-wide setting in multiple cities.

Not only is Dutch Hacking Health an enlightening example of collaboration and leadership on a broad national level, it fueled a nation’s efforts to improve healthcare.

The University Medical Centers made the Hacking Health events an official part of their innovation agenda. The chief judge on a national level was the Secretary-General of the Ministry of Health, Erik Gerritsen himself. The Dutch Minister of Health, Welfare and Sport, Edith Schippers, called on all citizens to participate and take the opportunity to change the way care is delivered in the Netherlands.

Dutch HH is an initiative of four University Medical Centers: LUMC in Leiden, Maastricht UMC, UMC Groningen and Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre. It is a real “creative pressure cooker for health!”

Affordable, good quality care is the most important thing for future generations. Innovation is key. I’m Erik Gerritsen and I’m Hacking Health. Are you?

Erik Gerritsen,





Valérie DoréDutch Hacking Health
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Hacking Health welcomes Joule as National Medical Partner for Innovation

Joule, the Canadian Medical Association’s (CMA) newest company, has officially become Hacking Health’s National Medical Partner, providing the tools and resources for Canada’s physicians to develop innovation that will help shape the country’s healthcare system and improve patient outcomes.
Serving the CMA’s more than 86,000 members, Joule is a catalyst for physician-led innovation.
“Hacking Health provides our country’s innovators with crucial resources to develop patient-centred solutions that can make a real difference in health care and this is exactly what Joule is all about, explains Joule CEO Lindee David. We are confident that this collaboration will benefit CMA members who are seeking those types of resources.”
“This partnership is a win-win for both parties involved,” explains Luc Sirois, co-founder of Hacking Health. “In working with Joule, we will continue to bring the world’s foremost innovators together to develop creative and collaborative solutions to a number of health issues here in Canada.”
In spring 2017, Joule teamed up with Hacking Health for events in Halifax and Ottawa and will actively take part in Montreal, Quebec City, Prince George and Toronto this coming Fall.
For more information on this partnership, please watch this video. For more information about Joule please visit joule.cma.ca.









FrancisHacking Health welcomes Joule as National Medical Partner for Innovation
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