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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.
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!
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.