Canada

HHQc, the Missing Link to Health Innovation in Quebec City

— Lire l’article original en Français

Hacking Health Quebec is considered as a mature chapter of the movement. Born in 2016, this chapter has already seen ups and downs and had to pivot – just like many startups born from the same movement – to meet the real needs of the ecosystem in Quebec City.

Way too many solutions are abandoned once the euphoria of the competition is over

It was during the strategic meeting of summer 2018 that we realized the evidence. Hackathons and Coopérathons are extraordinary events that allow prototyping an innovative solution to a real problem in healthcare, but … this is not enough. Too many of these solutions are abandoned once the euphoria of competition has passed. Most persevering teams face problems of cash flow, lack of knowledge of regulations of the health system, and also contacts in the community to validate their concept or find investors who will support their project. Incubator, investors, specialists of all kinds, all structures are already present, but do not often meet and speak together. The solution is in the community! We need to break silos and create connections between the different stakeholders of our ecosystem.

Our mission is clear:
Create a community to support health care innovation in Quebec City.

The Cooperathon kept us busy throughout fall, and we decided to start in February a series of meet-ups with different themes. In the form of a happy hour, we invite either a panel to debate around a topic, or experts to expose the latest trends in their field. Also, an entrepreneur is invited to present his innovative project in health care and exposes his/her struggles to the audience to get advice and contacts. We close with a networking session that allows everyone to meet and continue the discussion in a friendly atmosphere.

A series of meet-ups to bring the community together

The theme of the first meet-up was evident to us: since we want to support the projects born of our events, we need to invite previous project holders to come and share their experience and their learnings. We organized the Alumni Forum at Le Camp, an incubator / accelerator which is one of our partners. Four alumni immediately responded to our proposal: Kim Auclair (My Deafness project), Marie-Lou and Mathieu (Braver Health project), Schallum Pierre (Blockchain Citiz project) and Alain Larouche (ABC Santé project, now Concerto + of the Concerto Health group). The panel worked wonderfully, with Schallum Pierre in video conference from Montreal. Our audience was particularly interested in the journey of these entrepreneurs with a benevolent curiosity. All understood that everyone could make an impact by contributing with their experience and expertise.

The second meet-up took place in April, as part of the Digital Week in Quebec City. For the second consecutive year, the meeting was held at the Korrigane for a casual atmosphere around the theme “Concrete Practices of AI in Healthcare.” Then, Julie Bastien took the floor to present her company Lixi and the difficulties she faces to put her software on the market. Julie received a lot of support from the audience, and the networking session allowed her to connect with many people.

Finally, for the third meet-up, we wanted to get closer to the community of developers to raise their awareness about healthcare. Naturally, we went to meet the team of Spektrum Multimedia to integrate into the SPK ecosystem. We received a warm welcome and real support in the organization of our event. They also suggested one of their developer who works for Umano Medical, a company that creates smart hospital beds. We completed the panel with two other developers in healthcare. Organizing the meet-up in SPK’s offices has allowed us to break the silos that usually exist between healthcare and developers. From a panel of experts, the debate has turned into an exchange of ideas between developers, health professionals (doctors, pharmacists), entrepreneurs, investors in an amiable atmosphere.

Transforming institutions

Our reputation has begun to spread and we were proposed to lead a Design Thinking workshop as part of a Franco-Canadian Summer School in Management and Health Service organized by the Faculty of Sciences of the Administration of Laval University in June. This training was offered to managers, executives and students who wanted to improve the concrete organizational practices of healthcare institutions. We wanted to make them aware of the need to include a patient-partner in the development of concrete solutions in healthcare. In the form of a role-play, the participants developed solutions that take into account the user (patient) experience and were conquered by the approach.

This is just the beginning

We are now comforted by our idea that Quebec City needs a connector that knows how to bring together all those who want to have an impact in healthcare and support entrepreneurship in a highly regulated field, whatever the maturity of the company concerned.

In addition to the Coopérathon, we will offer other types of events to promote health innovation such as a Design Jam (a Design Thinking workshop) during the Entrepreneurship Week and a hackathon of 48 hours on the weekend during the Digital Week 2020. We will continue to offer meet-ups in parallel thanks to a growing team. The 2019-2020 program is going to be rich!

Save the dates:
Sep 24: Pitch & Networking Evening (preparation for the Coopérathon and Design Jam) – Registration
Oct 2 – Nov 2: Coopérathon competition – Registration

Nov. 20: Innovative Health Projects Workshop – Upcoming Entries
April 17, 18, 19, 2020: hackathon – Registration coming soon

——

Author: Delphine Davan, co-leader of the Quebec chapter.

Delphine DavanHHQc, the Missing Link to Health Innovation in Quebec City
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The Waterloo Region’s Connector

In Canada, Kitchener-Waterloo is often described as the Silicon Valley of the North as an incubator for technology. Despite the accolades, we operate within a fragmented health tech siloed ecosystem. Waterloo Region has many incredible incubators, entrepreneurs, research bodies, and healthcare systems. Yet, inefficient communication leads to duplication and missed opportunities for growth.

Our vision for Hacking Health Waterloo is to be the recognized connector for health tech innovation and improvement in the Region. We facilitate or enable conversations. We endeavour to create a bridge and conduit for more than 1,000 members to seek help and explore the unmet needs in health.

Our vision is to be the recognized connector for health tech innovation and improvement in the Region.

 

Kitchener-Waterloo is bustling with health tech-related conferences and Hackathons. Through 2018, these included Hack4Health 4.0 at St Paul’s Greenhouse, Waterloo MedTech conference and an AGE-WELL workshop on technology solutions to social isolation in older adults. May’s True North conference at Lot42 attracted more than 2,000 delegates considering Tech for good. Transformative innovation starts by connecting technology creators, healthcare professionals, and health consumers across the Waterloo Wellington Local Health Integration Network (WWLHIN).

Acting as a regional connector extends behind the geographic boundaries to plug the local community into the broader Ontario and Canadian health tech ecosystem. To that end, the Hacking Health Waterloo members have participated in the Hacking Health Ottawa HIP613, Hacking Health Toronto Ideathon, and new Hacking Health YGK chapter (Kingston, ON).

We can learn from each other through the Hacking Health network.

We have work ahead of us to engage more clinicians and engage patients to collaborate on realistic, human-centric solutions to front-line problems. We can learn from each other through the Hacking Health network. There are few situations that one of the other chapters have not previously encountered.

It has never been easier to start a business says HubSpot, while at the same time acknowledging that scaling a business is becoming harder than ever. Anthony Lacereva notes that Canada is possibly the best place to start a business and the hardest place to grow one. An exemplary illustration is the HHOttawa HIP613.

In 2019, Hacking Health Waterloo has collaborated with the Regional Innovation Centre, Communitech, for a hackathon in conjunction with True North. This event has engaged local health players while inviting partners from across Ontario. The theme was focused on Aging, Social Isolation, and Health. More details about this dual-city hackathon will be shared in a future post.

Our hackathons, therefore, must not just create the best ideas but provide a journey to scale profitable growth.

 

—–

About the author: John Gregory is Partner Lead of the Hacking Health Waterloo chapter and Head of Global Growth at the Hacking Health Foundation.

Follow John on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Delphine DavanThe Waterloo Region’s Connector
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The Volunteer Factor

I joined the Hacking Health Ottawa (HHO) chapter in August 2016. I was working in health at the time and looking for new ways to bring together diverse stakeholders. I came across a post on Twitter about this thing called a Hackathon, and it was focused on health. I reached out to learn more and was invited to the chapter team meeting and a smaller event they had coming up. It was a great way to learn about Hacking Health, the people who make it all happen, and the work they do.

I came across a post on Twitter // I reached out to learn more

Throughout those first few weeks, I met students and professionals of all ages working in health, design, engineering, business, and government. The diversity of event participants was reflected in the make-up of the HHO team. The quality of speakers, engagement of participants and dedication of the chapter’s volunteers was inspiring. I still didn’t really understand what a developer did or how ‘ideation’ was different from ‘brainstorming,’ but it didn’t matter.

This was a learning journey, and it culminated in a three-day event each year called a hackathon, where a DJ is a must, energy is contagious, and people don’t want to leave (seriously…we had to kick people out at the end of each day).

There is always a moment during our events where someone realizes HHO is 100% powered by volunteers.

There is always a moment during our events where someone realizes HHO is 100% powered by volunteers. Even though we thank and recognize our volunteers at the beginning and end of every event, it can often take folks a few events for it to really sink in. Their eyes light up, and they can’t believe it. You do all this in your spare time the say. Yes, we do. We work with amazing, dedicated people who show up, roll up their sleeves and make the impossible possible year over year. I can’t thank our team of volunteers enough for their generosity and commitment to HHO.

As a volunteer myself, I have gained so much more than I have given. I have learned new skills, expanded my professional network, met so many talented people and been inspired by their stories of success and failure.

Never underestimate The Volunteer Factor. It lifts us up each and every day.

My learning journey continues, and I am grateful for all those who have and continue to make HHO a reality. The volunteers, the community, the health care partners and the sponsors. Thank you.

—-

Karine Dietrich is Partnership & Sponsorship Lead at the Ottawa Hacking Health chapter. She’s also Vice-President, Public Engagement and Knowledge Mobilization at Volunteer Canada, and owns a B.A. in Criminology with a concentration in law from the Carlton University.

 

Delphine DavanThe Volunteer Factor
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Le Coopérathon Revient Cet Automne / Cooperathon Comes Back This Fall

Lisez le billet en français ici: https://hacking-health.org/fr/cooperathon2019

The largest international open innovation competition in the world comes back this fall. For the fourth year in a row, Hacking Health is the partner of the health track which gives us the title of historical partner!

Volunteers from Hacking Health chapters in Montreal, Quebec City, Toronto, and Waterloo* are ready to support you during this human and entrepreneurial adventure with the goal to have an impact on healthcare.

Join doctors, nurses, healthcare professionals, patients, entrepreneurs, investors, startups, and experts from diverse industries and become a change agent.

 

An entrepreneurial adventure for all

Whether you have an idea, identified a problem or simply want to change the world, you can join the competition. Throughout the month of October, workshops are organized in each of the participating cities to:

  1. Build teams,
  2. Identify root causes of the problem to be solved,
  3. Design the business model,
  4. Create a prototype,
  5. Learn how to pitch your project to a panel of experts.

The semi-final is held on November 2nd in each city to identify the best impact projects before the grand finale in Montreal on November 20th.

All winners!

Among all former participants, some have won prizes but all have acquired new skills, developed their network, discovered new horizons and above all … lived a tremendous human adventure. Whatever your expertise, your industry, whether you have a project idea or just want to contribute, you can make an impact.

Registrations are now open. Join us!

An incredible match. The story of “I Seek Delirium”.

Tania (nurse at the Montreal Heart Institute) and Nicolas (entrepreneur, founder of NeuroServo) did not know each other. They I Seek Delirium - Le projet gagnant du Coopérathon 2018met during the pitch & networking meetup where teams are built around each project. As Nicolas says in the video below: “it clicked immediately and we decided to work together”.The potential of their collaboration was obvious.

Winner of the health track in Canada, “I seek delirium” has been integrated within NeuroServo and continues its development with the Montreal Heart Institute. The company and the diagnostic tool presented at Cooperathon 2018 have been the subject of an article in Fierce Biotech, a reference in the health industry.

Check out the projects from previous editions in this post.

Watch this video to get an overview of the competition and projects presented in 2018

 

* Some chapters in France may also join the competition.

 

Delphine DavanLe Coopérathon Revient Cet Automne / Cooperathon Comes Back This Fall
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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

LinkedInTwitterWeb

 

Delphine DavanOur Volunteers Break Silos And Borders
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Hacking Health Ottawa #HIP613 Hackathon

Schedule | What to Bring | Prizes & AwardsJudging Criteria

We invite healthcare professionals, designers, developers, innovators and entrepreneurs to take part in building useable solutions to frontline healthcare problems. Join us Friday, April 27 to Sunday, April 29 for Hacking Health Ottawa’s #HIP613 Hackathon taking place at Shopify.

 What is #HIP613?

#HIP613 Hackathon is a fun, hands-on, intense, 3-day hackathon that breaks down barriers to healthcare innovation in Ottawa. Our goal isn’t just to organize hackathons, it’s to have a long-term impact on our healthcare system. Last year’s hackathon resulted in the development of 13 projects, two of which are being piloted at CHEO Hospital. We can’t wait to see you contribute to a hackathon project that can be brought to market for the benefit of communities everywhere – we have the resources to help you get there!

At the hackathon, teams will pitch ideas, get advice from experts and build solutions that can be integrated and implemented into our healthcare system. We are excited to see the projects you’re dreaming up come to life!

Schedule

Friday, April 27 Saturday, April 28 Sunday, April 29
8:00 AM Breakfast Breakfast
9:00 AM Hacking Starts Hacking
10:00 AM Pitch Clinic with L-Spark
12:00 PM Lunch & Judging Criteria Presentation Lunch
1:00 PM Hacking Hacking Ends
1:30 PM Pre-Presentation: Team Line Up
2:00 PM Closing Ceremony
5:00 PM Dinner End of Day 3
6:00 PM Hacking
7:00 PM Registration Opens
7:25 PM Opening Ceremony
8:00 PM Pitches
9:00 PM Team Formation & Networking
10:00 PM End of Day 1  End of Day 2

Things To Bring

❏ Phone + Charger ❏ Sensors/ Hardware
❏ Headphones or Earplugs ❏ Valid ID
❏ Extra Battery ❏ Notebook/ Pen
❏ Extension Cords ❏ Sweater
❏ Keyboard/ Mouse ❏ Computer and Modified External Monitor (optional)

Prizes & Awards

Prizes
IBM Design Mentorship Program |  Design studio sessions, mentoring, and more
Shopify Mentorship Program | 3 hours of mentorship over a 3 month period
CHEO Pilot Opportunity |  Advice, feedback and potential for piloting within CHEO hospital
 Algonquin College Aging Solution | Up to $10,000 to assist a project related to aging

Awards
Desjardin Health Innovation | $500 cash prize
• Girls & Women In Technology, sponsored by Macadamian Technologies | $250 Girls Can Hack it!

Judging Criteria

+ IMPACTFUL
• Importance of the problem tackled
• Extent of the impact the solution can have
+ REALISTIC
• Demonstration of a working prototype
• Elaborate design of solution
+ QUALITY
• Quality of the design, UI, etc
• Usability for the target users
• Fit the ecosystem of infrastructure
+ INNOVATIVE
• Quality of the design, UI, etc
• Usability for the target users
• Fit the ecosystem of infrastructure
+ PROMISING
• Can be adopted naturally and rapidly
• Level of insights on the solution
• If possible: Could become a real business
+ WELL PRESENTED
• Clear, succinct, inspiring
• Understand the importance of the problem

 

Hacking Health OttawaHacking Health Ottawa #HIP613 Hackathon
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Hacking Health Hamilton Nov. Meetup: Big Image Data and Health Data


Hacking Health Hamilton Nov. Meetup: Big Image Data and Health Data


This month, We are hosting a fantastic MeetUp at CoMotion On King in Hamilton. CoMotion On King is a new coworking initiative and Hamilton’s largest coworking space in the heart of downtown. Now we have a chance to get inside and enjoy their hospitality.

We have three awesome groups presenting this meetup:

Professor H.R.Tizhoosh is the director of KIMIA Lab. He has been researching in the fields of machine intelligence, medical imaging and computer vision since 1995.
Prof. Tizhoosh will present “Big Image Data: Tagging for Recognition”. It deals with how to identify histopathology images when we are searching in large archives of gigapixel scan.

Eric is the Director of Software Development at DF/Net Software. In addition to clinical trials data management, Eric’s primary interests are in application programming and human/computer interaction.

Yiguo is a student of McMaster’s eHealth MSc program in Computer Science stream. Currently, Joshua (another eHealth student) and Yiguo are developing a mobile solution for clinical trials data management in DF/Net Software.

Through our lens of DF/Net Software, we have the first-hand experience with clinical trials data collection for over 25 years. This presentation will reflect upon the key challenges of clinical trials data management and the intersection of software solutions.

Arinai Inc. Team:

Mohamed Ibrahim is a software architect and a full-stack developer with 10 years of experience designing and building enterprise level software in eHealth. He has comprehensive experience with startups, small-to-medium enterprise, and governments of different countries.

Nadia Ashoori is a Master of Science eHealth candidate at McMaster University. Nadia is a business development professional and marketing wiz with several years of experience in a variety of sectors, especially in the health sector.

Robert Zeni is a full-stack Software Developer with 5 years of experience in designing and building scalable enterprise level solutions in the mHealth and eHealth space. These experiences also encompass working on projects with organizations such as eHealth Ontario, MOHLTC and McMaster University.

They will present Restoring independence to patients and improving quality of care with Arinai.

Hacking Health HamiltonHacking Health Hamilton Nov. Meetup: Big Image Data and Health Data
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The Hacking Health Ottawa Hackathon

Written by Hacking Health Ottawa Volunteer Kevin Dick who joined a team and jumped into the trenches to give us a recap of his weekend. Originally published on HHOttawa’s blog on Medium.

The long anticipated Hacking Health Hackathon, hosted by Shopify, came and went in a blur. In the short two and a half days, ideas were pitched, expertise was shared, and prototypes developed with the common goal of improving the healthcare system.

In broad strokes, Friday brought together physicians, developers, politicians, and members of the health community from as far away as California to set the scene, with none other than Cofounder of the Hacking Health movement, Luc Sirois hyping up the participants in anticipation of (and throughout) the weekend. Saturday was an event-filled day with participants arriving at 8 a.m. and hacking well into the night. Sunday was a frenzy to bring projects to a close and judging of the final pitched ideas, each team vying for the prizes that could bring their prototype to the next level! From end-to-end, it was a resounding success full of camaraderie and competition, energy and euphoria, and of course: hacking and health!

Friday: The Official Kickoff!

With the close of business hours, most of Ottawa was eagerly anticipating the promised sunshine of the weekend. A different energy was stirring at 150 Elgin, home of Shopify and temporary home and workspace of over 150 hacking health participants through the highly anticipated Hacking Health Hackathon! A steady stream of physicians, developers, engineers, designers, politicians, media, and health enthusiast converged into the large bright space. As they mixed in together, some were reminiscing on the string of events leading up to this moment, others actively networking with one another and eager to learn what was in store for the next few days.

The event began with a number of prominent speakers addressing the assembly of participants. Most notably, Haidee Thanda, the Chapter Leader of Hacking Health Ottawa welcomed us and described the journey that had led to this point. The highly enthusiastic Global Hacking Health Cofounder, Luc Sirois, took the stage and operated as both Master of Ceremonies and hype man, drawing out the enthusiasm of the crowd. He explained how these types of events would come to define our moment in history and be part of the stories passed onto the next generations. Describing how in Canada, we are an example for healthcare around the world, Mr. Sirois emphasized that this success is the result of constant innovation and urged us all to continually push that cutting-edge fringe of healthcare technology forward. He explained that this is why Hackathons are so crucial:

“We cannot invent without learning!”

In bringing together experts from multiple disciplines, teams can share in unique perspectives and increased breadth and depth of knowledge. Mr. Sirois described how innovation in healthcare is necessary for the transformation of the institution; ensuring that is a dynamically growing entity.

This idea was then built upon by the next speaker, Alex Munter, the CEO and President of the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario and Ottawa Children’s Treatment Centre (CHEO-OCTC). He first described the history of CHEO-OCTC, explaining that there was significant resistance to establishing the institution with many claiming that Canadian healthcare was not sustainable.

“That would be true if your definition of ‘Sustainable” is ‘doing the same thing every year’!”

Mr. Munter explains that through the years, numerous allegations have been politically argued about the sustainability of the healthcare system and that the continual research and innovation has evolved the institution such that processes become more efficient. Ultimately, he states:

“Innovation is what drives the sustainability!”

Without innovation, the healthcare system would be in trouble and he therefore urged us all to pursue our passion to contribute to the health system. Concluding, he described his high expectations for the generation of millennials that will drive research and wished everyone good luck and that they enjoy themselves through the weekend.

Steven MacKinnon, the Member of Parliament for Gatineau then took the stage, offering the Federal perspective of innovation in healthcare. Explaining that healthcare consumes 40–50% of provincial budgets (outpacing inflation!) it is necessary that technology help produce increasingly efficient systems. He notes that the federal government recognizes this trend and that many efforts have been put forward to break down the barriers to information by opening access of data to the public.

Finally, Randy McCaig, Director of the Ottawa Desjardins Office and member of the Business Development team, congratulated us all for “being a little bit crazy!” Having experience in bringing successful hackathon projects to market, he commended all participants on their willingness to promote change in healthcare.

With that, the pitches started!

With about 25 different projects outlined on the Hacking Heath Sparkboard, each project lead had 60 seconds to pitch their idea with the intention of recruiting participants with the right skill-set. In a quick-fire manner, each idea was rapidly pitched in succession of the next. About halfway though, to keep energy high, we were all guided into a stretching routine and mandatory “Go Sens Go” chant while performing the wave.

With the final idea pitched, then came ‘The Match’, where participants ebbed and flowed throughout the room to pick the idea that they wished to commit to during the weekend. With clusters formed, each team found a secluded space to share in introductions and settle into deeper discussions of the problem faced and the approaches to resolve it.

Having been a part of the Sleep Apnea project leading up to the hackathon, I was one of twelve members committed to the project. Interestingly, team sizes varied from the very small (2–3 members) to the very large (8–12 members) with most fitting somewhere in the middle. Our team also appeared to comprise a disproportionately high number of machine learning aficionados. Certainly the skill-set within a team would help provide some context to the proposed solution; a particular challenge we faced was breaking out of our comfort zone and considering the problem from unique perspectives.

After several hours of discussion, we began converging on a weekend strategy and anticipated reuniting in the morning to begin bringing the pieces together! The teams slowly dissipated with an eagerness to tackle the problem in the morning!

Saturday: Hacking Commences!

Arriving as early as 8 a.m. and staying on well into the night (~11 p.m. kick out), Saturday was buzzing with energy. From dawn until dusk, it was somewhat magical to see ideas emerging as tangible prototypes in so short a time. With teams interspersed among one another, there was a congenial, yet competitive atmosphere. A broad range of mentors and experts were available for consulting on various aspects. From data visualization, to 3D printing services, to business model development, to sensor integration; there was help for any facets to each unique project!

Our team convened bright and early, and we rapidly brainstormed and refined a number of aspects of our proposed solution. The central problem we were addressing was the lack of information to support the diagnosis of a child’s sleep apnea, and current waitlists for a sleep study (which are often ineffective) can be upwards of two years. Our project leader, Dr. Matthew Bromwich, was eager to address any and all questions. Having a large team, we opted for a three-part solution:

· Engage: Parents suspecting that their child might have sleep apnea often come unprepared to consultancies with specialists. There are no resources for a concerned parent to consult which outline the various steps of information gathering about their child’s sleeping behaviours. In order to promote parent engagement, we decided to create a website (www.whatsapnea.com) which would outline the information a parent should bring to a consultation to facilitate the diagnosis of their child.

· Capture: Video footage of Sleep Apnea events make compelling evidence for diagnosis. We decided to create a sleep apnea video capture app to standardize the data collection process to amass evidence about a child’s sleeping behaviours. With a long-term goal of generating a night-long analysis system, the WhatsApnea app would allow parents to regularly collect video footage to help a physician with their diagnosis.

· Analyze: Using facial skin tone, we can extract heart rate from a patient in a contactless way. As part of the data analysis team, I sought to extract physiological information from patient videos to determine if we could detect sleep apnea events without the use of complex medical equipment. This machine learning layer would add significant value to the process of sleep apnea diagnosis as sleep apnea events could be automatically detected and provide a preliminary assessment to physicians.

As a biomedical engineering Master’s candidate with a passion for problem-solving, I reveled in the opportunity to engage with a physician on the front-lines of these medical system challenges. This is an opportunity rarely seen outside of a hackathon framework.

The Engage sub-team extensively used the IBM Design Mentors (Yasmine Taha and Peter Djeneralovic) to develop Empathy Maps and build a story around a proposed patient. This helped narrow down the scope of the problem to tangible targets. In general, whenever someone faced a particular roadblock, other team members were eager to find a way to circumvent it or mentors were available to provide expertise.

Ottawa’s own prototypeD experts were in-house offering a range of consultancy services including 3D printing and data visualization. My own work with the Analyze team necessitated the visualization of data streams in an interactive and dynamic manner. Janak Alford, Founder and CEO of prototypeD, helped me identify a number of packages to achieve what I envisioned.

This fully supportive and highly engaging atmosphere truly fostered individual and team creativity in the pursuit of healthcare solutions! To promote a healthy work environment, yoga sessions were also offered to help relieve tension and to reinvigorate the body after long periods in front of a computer.

Teams worked on late into the evening until the 10:30 p.m. kick out. Undoubtedly a number of teams would have carried on further into the early hours of the morning if they had the opportunity. For some that momentum transferred spatially from Shopify to their homes while others, temporally, from night to Sunday morning…

 

Sunday: Judgment Day!

The last day of the hackathon could be characterized by an altogether new flavor of anticipation: one that is sprinkled with anxiety and frenzy. The 3PM deadline was on everyone’s mind. Our team rapidly realized the importance of putting together a compelling presentation and we rapidly shifted gears from prototype development to pitch-craft!

With a developer-heavy composition, our team lacked expertise in business model development. A panel of business-oriented mentors was available to help identify the value proposition to our three-part solution. Having scheduled one of the last appointments with them, this panel was a prized commodity in the frenzy of Pitch day.

How do you boil down the breadth of a problem and solution into a relatable, compelling, and investable presentation of a mere 180 seconds? We iterated our presentation over and over again until we converged on what we deemed the right flow. As one of the speakers, I was afforded a 20–30 second slot to convey the intricacies of our data analysis solution in a couple of sentences. One rapidly realizes that technical jargon must immediately be replaced with high-level concepts.

As the hours whittled away, you increasingly observed the shift toward pitch practice in the hallways and discrete workspace corners. Finally, the moment of truth arrived and all teams convened to the stage where a short ~40 hours ago the event had officially kicked off!

Each team took the stage and presented their problem and solution. Some creatively used a short skit to outline their issue; others relied on compelling visuals and videos. Common to all was the passion with which the project was delivered. A number of questions from the diverse panel of judges followed each presentation enabling the team to elaborate on their solution. It was clear that an incredible amount of effort had been put in by each of the teams and some had very promising approaches.

When the time came for deliberation by the judges, it was clear that the competition was incredibly close and teams eagerly anticipated the outcomes!

Here is the list of winners:

Prizes

CHEO Pilot Opportunity Prize

Sparkboard #59: Patient Wait Time

Sparkboard #2: Sleep Apnea Diagnostic Tool

IBM Watson Grand Prize 

Sparkboard #46: Crowdsourcing Knowledge Synthesis in Medicine

Sparkboard #95: Canadian Pediatrics Hematology/Oncology Patient Database

IBM IoT Gold Prize

Sparkboard #47: A Smarter Post-operative Knee Brace

IBM IoT Silver Prize

Sparkboard #2: Sleep Apnea Diagnostic Tool

Joule Innovation Mentorship Prize

Sparkboard #75: Free Flap Monitoring

Shopify Mentorship Package

Sparkboard #91: Alrt Me

Sparkboard #47: A Smarter Post-operative Knee Brace

Sparkboard #73: VitalTracer

Impact Hub Ottawa Prize

Sparkboard #93: Timsle

Sparkboard #46: Crowdsourcing knowledge synthesis in medicine

Sparkboard #95: Canadian pediatrics hematology/oncology patient database

Designer Dream Team Prize, $5000

Sparkboard #47: A Smarter Post-operative Knee Brace

Sparkboard #80: Triage (MADD booking for Med)

Sparkboard #76: Better and Safer Critical Congenital Heart Disease (CCHD) Screening

Showcase Showdown Prize, $1000

Sparkboard #72: Take Care

Sparkboard #49: Latched

Awards

Desjardins Health Innovation Award

Sparkboard #84: WHIT: Women’s Health Information Tracker

Can Hack It! Sponsored by Macadamian – $250

Sparkboard #49: Latched

Sparkboard #84: WHIT: Women’s Health Information Tracker

Hacking Health Choice Award

Sparkboard #84: WHIT : Women’s Health Information Tracker

Best Solution for Healthcare Collaboration Award

Sparkboard #49: Latched

Best Solution for Patients Award

Sparkboard #91: AlrtMe

Best Health Education Solution Award

Sparkboard #85: Online Medical Publishing Platform

People’s Choice Award

Sparkboard #47: A Smarter Post-operative Knee Brace


With all said and done, Hacking Health Ottawa would again extend their thanks to all sponsors and who made this hackathon such a resounding success. Of course, this event is just another on the journey to implementing effective change in healthcare locally and globally.

Hacking Health Ottawa has a number of post-hackathon events in the weeks to come. Stay tuned for more info! Don’t want to miss a thing? Be sure to register for our newsletter or follow us on Twitter!

For more stories and articles about the success of the weekend, please see the following links:

Radio Canada

Ottawa Citizen News Article

Metro News Article

WINGD

Runhe Wang LinkedIn Article

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HHOttawa – A Panel on Startup Successes in Healthcare

A Panel on Startup Successes in Healthcare

Originally published on HHOttawa’s blog on Medium.
Written by Hacking Health Ottawa Volunteer Kevin Dick

What would an ex-military engineer, dentist, recent graduate, and industry professional have in common? Each has the profound desire to bring their healthcare vision to light in the hopes of helping the world. With experience of negotiating their way through the challenges of starting up their own healthcare companies, this diverse panel offered a number of insights into the world of startup in the healthcare field and kindly shared their expertise with the aspiring entrepreneurial enthusiasts in attendance.

On March 22nd, a congregation of Hacking Health enthusiasts, entrepreneurs, developers, and aspiring world-changers we were afforded quite a bit of “wiggle room” at the heart of Kivuto Solutions Inc., a software distribution company that specializes in hosted electronic software delivery. Vivek Raju, AVP Operations, warmly welcomed into this engaging space, with elaborate wall paintings, kitchenette, and even outfit with a central slide. Having been immersed in the tech communities of Ottawa for a number of years, he explained how Hacking Health Ottawa has added considerable value since its inception about two years ago.

Hacking Health’s Haidee and Karine kicked off the session reiterating the Hacking Health mission and its objective in bringing together individuals who might not normally collide in the day-by-day. Through these events, the ecosystem of health initiatives become increasingly enriched with expertise across a broad range of disciplines so as to bring together new ideas, new ways of thinking, and promote collaboration within a dedicated innovative space. This evening was one to inspire the successes of startups in the health space with talks from four entrepreneurs willing to share their experiences.

Our first panelist, Suzanne Grant, Cofounder and CEO at iBionics, is a serial entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience. Beginning her career in the armed forces, she intrinsically knew herself to be an entrepreneur and sought opportunities to develop solutions for those in greatest need, but did not know what exactly this would entail at the time. While on military tour in Rwanda during the 1994 genocide, she and her troops came across 900 orphaned children and she was struck with the innate desire to help in any way that she could. Calling her husband, she asked a question that would then introduce her into the Social Entrepreneurial space: “Can you send a blanket?” That one blanket would serve as a small kindness to a single child trapped in a darker place and time in the history of the world. Suzanne wondered about what would happen to the remaining 899 orphans and quickly drew the parallel between the abilities of the fortunate to help those in need and saw herself a facilitator in connecting the two. Within eight weeks, she succeeded in delivering over 18,000 kilograms of blankets and supplies to these children in greatest need by engaging a country with a heart set on helping. She explains that once she witnessed the success of this initiative, she could not stop.

Suzanne eventually moved to Qatar during its pre-cosmopolitan era, when it was emerging as a booming economy in the Middle East. With her technology and operations background from her time in the armed forces in addition to her recent entrepreneurial, successes she was poised to implement her vision at the intersection of social initiatives, publishing, and technology. She pioneered into the publishing domain in a country saturated in censorship, with initiatives like “Art of Business” and “Spirit of Empowerment” which sought to empower women in Qatar. Explaining how these efforts skirted the fringe of potential imprisonment due to their radical nature in a patriarchal society, she proudly describes the foundational change that it introduced in challenging the status quo of women in Qatar society.

Thereafter she turned her sights to tech with the goal of improving the quality of life for the blind. She described the iBionics Diamond Eye as a world-sensing interface over the retina to recreate vision for the blind. Requiring an implantable chip and a software layer, this work was only enabled due to the multi-disciplinary expertise of those involved.

She emphasized how neurotechnology has a high barrier to entry but is moving towards becoming a billion dollar industry and that they position themselves in the wireless transmission space. Envisioning an Apple-like approach where hardware will remain fixed and the company can then roll out improving software over time, she describes the aesthetic appeal to her solution as compared to other competitors. She explains that one of the biggest challenges the company faces is deciding between all the possible directions that they can take the company, given the plethora of options!

Dr. Marc Lamarre, Cofounder at Cumulus Dental, was the second speaker, wittily taking the floor with the apt observation that the speaker order was predestined from the proverbial saying “An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth!”

A dentist with over 20 year of practical experience, Dr. Lamarre described the need for innovation in dentistry. One of his colleagues and mentors, Dr. Burton Siegel, had the first papers linking gum disease to heart disease, and subsequently discovered its correlation to an even broader number of health problems. This oral-systemic health link became the foundation of an entire body of research, however there existed fundamental limitations to the technologies currently used in the dentistry profession.

Dr. Lamarre described the history of the periodontometer: invented in 1880, used to measure the depth of gum, and has not been improved upon in the 130 years since. Dr. Lamarre wished to develop a new state-of-the-art technology by creating voice-activated charting system to then create a fully recreated three dimensional model for dental charting. With the hopes of pushing the field of dentistry from its current reactive state into a more proactive one, Cumulus Dental hopes to improve the ability for early detection of gum disease in patients with the hopes of preventing some of the system health problems now known to be associated.

“If you don’t have a fantastic team, it won’t work. In startups you work 24/7, but you will have the time of your life!”

The technology barriers faced by the Cumulus Dental team were tremendous since the field had very little in the way of software and community development. Intending to develop a handheld probe (to be released in 2018) as part of their solution framework, the team faces significant challenges in packing a large amount of functionality into a device no larger than current dentistry tools. Dr. Lamarre emphasizes money as the biggest barrier in addition to the need to a fantastic team of motivated individuals.

The third and youngest panelist Elizabeth Audette-Bourdeau, Cofounder and CEO at Welbi, already had the success of two initiatives behind her and now spearheading the third into the healthcare market. Elizabeth’s ambition for her talk was to convince the audience to turn their ideas into a viable business. Her motivation to establish Welbi was the result of a personal story involving the declining health of her grandparents and the severe lack in the ability to track their daily conditions. Frustrated about the lack in monitoring activity, she was inspired to resolve this problem herself and founded Welbi in 2016. Using existing wearable technologies such as a Fitbit®, Welbi can automatically track data about a loved one and learn about daily activity patterns so as to trigger a warning if ever someone appears suddenly outside of the norm (such as restless sleeping, changing heart rates, etc). This framework allows remote and improved resolution about the wellbeing of a loved one.

Elizabeth describes the journey to developing Welbi as a wholly unique experience. She urged that we all find our own path to developing our own startup, stating:

“There was no ‘Build your own Uber Startup’ book when Uber was first developing their company”.

She emphasized the need for focus as the startup environment can be fraught with distractions which threaten your efficacy as a team with a goal. Additionally, she provided examples about how the startup process is a highly dynamic space where one’s goals and focus will change through each stage of the company and that founders (i.e. “your family”) should be intrinsically self-reflective and selective about the decisions they make as each will impact the company in various ways.

Our final panelist, Michel Paquet, Founder and CEO at Aetonix describes his pivotal moment to transition from being a “typical employee” to startup culture at a conference in Toronto upon hearing a talk by Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield he describes as “a hugely passionate individual and excellent speaker”. Michel realized that he had more to offer to the world and trusted in his entrepreneurial calling. At the time his father was fighting cancer and his aunt had Alzheimer’s and he faced a similar situation to Elizabeth with her grandparents and struggled with the idea that no system for tracking the care of complex patients existed. Research shows that complex care patients represent a massive portion of the federal and provincial healthcare budgets and that any opportunity to reduce the readmission of complex care patients would alleviate a financial burden on healthcare systems. At the same time, a patient receiving equivalent quality of care at home would see improvement in their quality of life.

Mr. Paquet, through Aetonix, sought to develop a method to connect “care coordinators” in an intelligent way so as that a patient would receive the best possible care while remaining in the comforts of their own homes. As each has a dedicated “complex care plan” to adhere to, it is necessary for administrators of that care have a standardized framework to track the delivery of that care; cue the Aetonix solution.

Having personally faced the challenges of starting a company, Mr. Paquet offered a number of insights regarding finance (“This is intensive. It’s not a five minute job.”), success factors (“Get your product out, then find out how it is liked. Be ready to iterate and persevere.”), and partnerships (“Partnerships are key. Find your right partners that you work towards success together.”). On the topic of finding the right founders he explains that you need to surround yourself with the right people: “You go to war together, you go party together; these are the people who will lift you back up again.” Most notably, Mr. Paquet described the transition from stable employment to startup culture: “I had the oval office, boardrooms, and could fly anywhere while staying in nice hotels. I then went to working on a ping-pong table out of my basement. Which do I prefer? The latter, without a doubt!”

The panelists went on to answer a round of questions from the audience on topics such as the efficacy of networking and other topics critical to the establishment of startup success. Each synergized their answers based on the other’s, providing a comprehensive sense for the journey into and through startup culture while imparting a buzzing sense of excitement at the potential of bringing an idea to fruition. Thereafter, the congregation broke for generalized networking with that sense of excitement lingering in the air.


This panel set the stage for the exciting possibilities that will be enabled by the Hacking Health Hackathon with our anchor partner CHEO-OCTC! Are you a developer, designer, policy analyst, artist or engaged citizen with a vested interest in healthcare? We invite you to get involved, and look forward to seeing everyone again as we gear up and get ready for our April Hackathon.

Sign up here for the Hacking Health Ottawa newsletter and to stay up to date on all upcoming event details.

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HHOttawa: Pitch Clinic 101

Pitch Clinic 101

Originally published on HHOttawa’s blog on Medium.
Written by Hacking Health Ottawa Volunteer Kevin Dick

Who am I? What is my story/problem? What is my solution? How can you help? Summarizing each of these questions in a compelling pitch that draws in your audience in a short 60 seconds is no simple feat. The Hacking Health Ottawa Pitch Clinic on April 12, 2017 sought to mentor individuals and teams on the successful design, writing, and delivery of an idea pitch. As the final event prior to the highly anticipated Hackathon, there was a tangible sense of anticipation and excitement. For those interested in participating, be sure to check out the Sparkboard and sign up here!

James Chan kicked off the evening with an Impact Hub welcome, reminding us of the year old partnership with Hacking Health Ottawa and the exciting journey that has led to this point. Hacking Health Ottawa volunteers Karine and Haidee provided a breakdown of the night’s event, expressing thanks for L-Spark and Impact Hub for helping bring the event together.

Before starting the workshop, Haidee prompted the audience: “What words or phrases would you use to describe Hacking Health?” A number of fitting phrases were offered including “innovation”, “partnership with CHEO”, and “diversity” and Haidee emphasized that the call to action was of principal importance as none of these initiatives could flourish without the dedicated time and effort of the growing community. She went on to introduce the Pitch Clinic facilitator for the evening: Elza Seregelyi from L-Spark with 25+ years of experience in the entrepreneurial space and having won several awards for innovation and impact.

In about a minute, Elza gave us a pitch centered on the story of Penny, an entrepreneur with big ideas but little expertise looking to build a community of innovators. In the short 70 second pitch, we were each of us drawn into the narrative and relating to the fictitious Penny in one form or another. Elza went on to describe the principal elements to a solid pitch so as to provide the audience with the broad strokes of an initiative.

Elza described many of the pitfalls faced by entrepreneurs giving a pitch. Often suffering of TMI (“Too Much Information”), a pitch is not a lecture nor is it the opportunity to share everything you know about something or anything to do with teaching knowledge. Rather, it is akin to a movie trailer, meant to entice the audience in a concise and compelling manner with a call-to-action to prompt subsequent engagement. Ultimately it is a short performance about you, the entrepreneur, but delivered specifically for your audience.

The three short steps to designing a pitch are summarized as:

1. Knowing your audience and what they care about

2. Knowing your objective

3. Connecting 1 to 2

Additionally, the core principles to be incorporated into a pitch are:

1. Grabbing the Audience’s Attention: Weaving a personalized story can leave an impression.

2. Inform: By being clear and concise (and avoiding jargon) the audience can take away meaningful bits from the pitch. A factual pitch lends credibility to the pitch and indicates impact of the initiative.

3. Motivate Action: A great pitch should incorporate an “Ask” where audience members can respond to the call-to-action in some form or another. Without this element, many pitches risk falling flat.

On a final note of advice, Elza describedthe critical need to emphasize the value proposition of a pitch which pertains to the “what is the solution?”, “what value does it bring?”, and the “who does it target?” It is important to realize that different stakeholders of a solution will respond to different facets of the value proposition. For example, a wearable medical device would bring certain value to a patient (e.g. receive better diagnosis), physician (e.g. leverage additional data for improved diagnosis), or manufacturer (e.g. diversification of products into different business verticals). Therefore the success of a pitch is centered on how well the narrative connects with the audience in attendance.

At this point, we broke into teams to hone our pitch writing and delivery skills. Some team members were meeting for the first time while others were already well acquainted with solutions in mind. It was fascinating to see how despite a wide distribution of team membership familiarity, each group could connect in meaningful ways to breakdown complicated concepts into short 60-second presentations. A number of co-facilitators circulated to help members hone their pitch crafting abilities. It is undoubtedly a process requiring multiple iterations and a multitude of perspectives to perfect.

The evening wrapped up with Haidee providing a breakdown of the Hackathon schedule, indicating that the pitches developed tonight would be useful on the Friday evening of the hackathon weekend. A networking session followed with members engaging in active and passionate conversation about their solutions and expressing enthusiasm for the impending Hackathon.


Are you a developer, designer, policy analyst, artist or engaged citizen with a vested interest in healthcare? We invite you to get involved, and look forward to seeing everyone at the long anticipated hackathon in partnership with CHEO-OCTC, happening next weekend, April 28th to 30th!

Sign up here for the Hacking Health Ottawa newsletter and to stay up to date on all upcoming event details.

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