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Hacking Health: Finding Solutions to Advance Digital Health

Feb 28, 2013 By Crissy Campbell

This past weekend, over 150 people came out to the Centre for Digital Media to participate in Hacking Health Vancouver @ Sanotron, an event to connect developers and designers with healthcare professionals.

Hacking Health is a national organization that’s dedicated to fostering collaboration between health and IT professionals. They’ve held successful events in Toronto and Montreal and, when deciding to come to Vancouver, they teamed up with Sanotron who chose CDM as a venue for the Vancouver event.

The need to advance digital health is an increasing concern. While our lives are becoming more and more tech focused, this isn’t reflected in our healthcare systems. Events like Hacking Health are meant to find ways that technology can help solve healthcare problems.

The goal is to prototype practical solutions and to foster collaborative, cross-disciplinary relationships that could lead to more significant innovation down the road. As Dr. Kimberly Voll, CDM faculty and co-organizer of the event, says, “It’s as much an awareness building activity as anything else.”

Over 150 participants attended Hacking Health at the Centre for Digital Media

Photo Credit: Ligia Brosch

On Friday, there were over 50 project ideas pitched and participants spent all of Saturday prototyping their projects. On Sunday, 23 teams presented their projects to a Dragon’s Den-type panel of industry professionals, developers and entrepreneurs. The judges awarded first, second and third prize to the best projects. The top 3 teams were:

  1. eBeeper: A requisition app that will speed up x-rays and lab text results to make the ER more efficient and improve doctor workflow.
  2. HealthCan: An app to coordinate appointments.
  3. VitalClik: An app that monitors patients who’ve been discharged in order to cut down on hospital readmissions.

Hacking Health at the Centre for Digital Media

First prize winners for their app eBeeper, from left to right: Johnny Lee, Billy Lin, Aaron Hilton, Owen Mead-robins, Luc Sirois. Photo Credit: Erez Barzilay

The spirit of creativity and discovery at Hacking Health was a perfect match with the Centre for Digital Media. As Voll says, “This is exactly the sort of thing that the Centre for Digital Media should be involved in. Digital health, unfortunately, hasn’t seen a lot of development—but it is beneficial to absolutely everybody.”