Our Volunteers Break Silos And Borders

Hacking Health Windsor-Detroit is the first cross-border Hacking Health chapter in the world. It brings together two cities, which comprise a world-class automotive cluster that is reinventing itself as a global leader in health and mobility.

The 100-year-old Ambassador Bridge is iconic of this chapter’s determination to reach across divides and bring creative people together from the tech, health and automotive sectors to collaborate on innovative solutions to healthcare challenges on both sides of the Detroit River.


This chapter fosters innovation across the Canadian-US border

Now entering its fifth year – Hacking Health Windsor-Detroit has drawn over 1,000 participants, connected over 60 partner organizations, sparked a half-dozen start-up companies (CarePRN is one of them) and inspired a cross-border MedHealth Summit that annually matches health start-ups with investors .

There is also Kaitlyn Sheehan—a Registered Nurse— who had an idea for a mobile app that could improve health care on both sides of the Detroit-Windsor border. Read her fabulous story here and how she won a hackathon top award for mobile app design in this previous post.

Gathering automotive & healthcare sectors in the same place?

From left to right: Deborah Livneh, Zain Ismail and Yvonne Pilon, members of the HHWD chapter

After the lights dimmed on a successful MedHealth Summit in downtown Detroit in early 2018, one that featured an electric keynote by celebrated neuropathologist Dr. Bennet Omalu featured in the movie Concussion, the organizers gathered in a boardroom at the Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy at Wayne State University.  Many of those gathered had been founders and leaders from Hacking Health Windsor-Detroit – which provided the spark for the Medhealth Summit.

In part, the organizers wanted to debrief on such a successful meeting and chart potential destinations for Medhealth in 2019.  This meeting raised the potential of bringing talent from the automotive and health-care sectors together.

A year later, we are happy to report that Hacking Health Windsor-Detroit IV will explore the theme of mobility in the fall. The potential for creative engineers and programmers from General Motors and Google and Lyft to talk healthcare is exciting.



In the video below, Robert C. Brooks, III – a hackathon participant, talks about what the automotive industry can bring to healthcare:

Our Movement Builds Ecosystems of Innovation

At the Medhealth Summit debrief,  Stephen Konya, a Senior Innovation Strategist from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT with the United States Department of Health and Human Services, was invited to lead a discussion. He is exploring the growing network of health-related cluster initiatives across the United States – a cluster of clusters – and the opportunity to integrate the MedHealth Summit.

And that is the genius of Hacking Health – connecting thought leaders from health and tech regionally, opening up promising collaboration between previously sequestered sectors and looking beyond the horizon to connect creative problem solvers globally. That’s Hacking Health’s approach.


That’s the magic of a grass-roots movement

Want to support our movement? Join/build your local chapter or make a donation!


Original text from Dr. Irek Kusmierczyk,

City Councillor for Ward 7 in the City of Windsor

Director of Partnerships at WEtech Alliance

Leader of the Hacking Health Windsor-Detroit Chapter



Delphine DavanOur Volunteers Break Silos And Borders
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Hacking Health, Innovation Beyond Hackathons

Hacking Health is a not-for-profit organization created in Montreal in 2012 with head office at the CHUM Hospital. We have developed 12 entities across Canada (from Vancouver to St-John’s) and are present in 50+ cities around the world. All these entities (called chapters) are built by multidisciplinary teams of volunteers who want to bring innovation to healthcare and integrate new technologies for the benefit of patients.

All over the world, our 600+ volunteers organize high energy, collaborative competitions such as health hackathons. During these events, we pair healthcare professionals with patients, technologists, designers, entrepreneurs and other experts to build concrete solutions to healthcare challenges – see all future and past events here.

Listen to the interview of Annie Lamontagne, Special Projects Advisor and former Head of Global Growth at Hacking Health.

Listen to the podcast on iTunes, Podbean, Stitcher or Youtube.

From fun short events to transformative innovation hubs

The cornerstone of Hacking Health’s global success is the community built in each location. Chapters organize not only one-time weekend hackathons but also meetups and workshops which work as a regular forum for ideation, knowledge exchange, and networking opportunity.

Not each idea born during a hackathon turns into a company, nor do all participants have entrepreneurial aspirations, but people always make new connections and acquire new knowledge,” says Annie.

Hospitals, like CHUM, partner with Hacking Health with the desire to give medical professionals a different perspective on their problems with the opportunity of building tomorrow’s healthcare. Read the press release about our collaboration with CHUM here.

Health innovation management

As Annie likes to emphasize in the interview, health innovation management is an emerging and evolving science, and even when hospitals are open to new ideas, they might struggle in implementing them into their practice.

“At one time a speech therapist designed a solution for her clinical practice. She did not want to start a company but wanted to see her idea used in her everyday work. Before that was possible, she hit a lot of barriers inside the institution and had to put a lot of effort in justifying the legal requirements, get management approval, etc., to be able to use the solution,” says Annie Lamontagne.

Another successful hackathon participant was Dr. Denis Vincent, an Edmonton-based physician, who suffered a loss of a patient due to a misplaced fax document. He started looking for a solution to prevent such things from ever happening again. At the Hacking Health Edmonton hackathon in 2013, Dr. Vincent created ezReferral, a cloud-based, secure medical referral management tool that keeps all parties on the same page: family doctor, specialist, and patient.

Read other success stories: CarePRN, IUGO Care, EyeWare, Haleo, etc. Just to name a few.

Hacking health uses different approaches for attracting participants from the clinical practice to join the events. One of them is to turn to IT departments inside healthcare institutions to identify the healthcare workers who complain the most. Hacking health sees them as champions — they are those who refuse to accept the status quo and wish to see changes. They usually become the most influential ambassadors of innovations within institutions.

One of the aspects Annie is passionate about is rethinking the inclusion of older healthcare specialists in the innovation processes. “These are people with tremendous knowledge and experience, still wish to be active, and we need to value their participation.”

Some questions addressed during the interview:

  • How are hackathons in healthcare evolving over the years?
  • Hacking Health is active in 17 countries. What can different chapters learn from each other?
  • How to organize a hackathon?
  • How to motivate participants to join hackathons?
  • How do Hacking health events differ from other digital health events and how do they attract participants?
  • How do hackathons in hospitals look like?
  • What follows hackathons in clinical settings? Do hospitals adopt change management solutions?


Post in collaboration with Tjaša Zajc, author of Faces of Digital Health

Delphine DavanHacking Health, Innovation Beyond Hackathons
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Hacking Health Logo

For immediate release


Montreal, February 19, 2019 – The University Hospital of Montreal (CHUM) welcomes Hacking Health headquarters into its Research Center. This confirms a mutual desire to collaborate and foster innovation. For Hacking Health, the non-profit organization with more than 50 chapters around the world, this is a first. Its core team is now immersed in a healthcare environment and close to medical teams and patients.

“Hacking Health offers an innovative approach focused on co-creation and ideas sharing which allows our teams to both speed up and go further while keeping in mind the benefit for our patients. We believe that collective intelligence enables a proper implementation of innovations, particularly those related to artificial intelligence, in healthcare,” said Nathalie Beaulieu, Director of Education and Academy at the CHUM.

Teams from CHUM want to encourage innovation with Hacking Health. Hackathons or cafe discussions will connect medical teams with partners and experts from diverse sectors. This partnership allows the co-construction of innovative projects and the co-facilitation of educative workshops with the strength of multidisciplinary creativity.

Isabelle Vézina, General Manager at Hacking Health, is enthusiastic about this partnership. “We could not have a better location for our headquarters. Hacking Health belongs to the health ecosystem. We want to transform institutions by accelerating the generation and adoption of innovations. Collaborating hand in hand with a university hospital helps to generate impact more quickly.”

This is a promising collaboration. The CHUM and Hacking Health has already held workshops to outline the School of Artificial Intelligence in Health (EIAS). This school is dedicated to future healthcare professionals, students, Quebec residents and patients.

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About the University Hospital of Montreal (CHUM)

The University Hospital of Montreal is an innovative hospital serving patients. It offers the best care, specialized and highly specialized, to patients and all Quebec residents. Thanks to its unique expertise and innovations, it improves the health of the adult and senior population. As the hospital center of the University of Montreal, the CHUM has a vocation of care, research, teaching, health promotion as well as evaluation of technologies and intervention mode in healthcare, with the goal to continually improve the quality of care and the health of the population. Since Fall 2017, patients and their loved ones have had a renewed hospital experience at CHUM’s new facilities. chumontreal.qc.ca.

About Hacking Health

Since 2012, Hacking Health catalyzes the co-creation of concrete solutions to real healthcare issues. All around the world, Hacking Health gathers communities. Our volunteers organize events such as hackathons that bring together doctors, nurses, administrative staff of healthcare institutions. They collaborate with entrepreneurs, designers, developers and patients to develop innovative solutions. Hacking Health initiated more than 1,500 innovative projects and is a not-for-profit organization with headquarters in Montreal. The movement counts 53 chapters in 17 countries on five continents with more than 600 volunteers who want to have a concrete impact on healthcare.

More information:

Isabelle Lavigne
Director of Communications and Access to Information.
Centre hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal (CHUM)
Telephone: 514 890-8000, poste 15293

Delphine Davan
Head of Communications
Hacking Health
Telephone: 418 931-5778

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