This morning I was in the operating room. Surgery attracts a certain kind of person, the kind that likes to work with their hands. The type that likes to see the immediate impact of their work. Start a patient on a drug and it may take weeks or longer to work - if it all. Take out an appendix or fix together a bone, the impact is immediate.
As a medical student, what you can do - for good reason - is limited. But often we get to close, meaning while the surgery is winding down, I can stitch the incisions close. It is a small part, a short denoument, in the final act of the whole production. And yet, I must admit once I’ve finished, there is a sense of pride in laying the dressing over the wound and having the satisfication of making a small impact in this individual patient’s life.
Later that day, after scrubbing out, I listened to the White Coat/Black Art episode that followed teams from Hacking Health. When I heard the young women review the “Infant Passport”, I could not help feeling that same sense of pride as I did tying those sutures. I haven’t met this woman, I haven’t been directly been involved at all in this project, and yet the sense of satisfaction was even greater than what I had done with my own two hands.
At times I have been frustrated with the pace of our work at Hacking Health. But in hearing the impact that this one project - of the many we have helped come together - I could not help a swelling of inspiration by the difference we make by setting the stage for passionate innovators to act. I wonder how else could have these social workers achieved the impact they will have on these young vulnerable women were it not for this plot we have set in motion?
I gather that many of us are drawn to healthcare because of a desire to play a part, however small that may be, in helping the lives of others. There is that niggling discomfort in being just a member of the audience. At Hacking Health, by bringing the different actors together in a meaningful scenes like this, we can achieve so much more than what we could in a one-man show.
I cannot wait to see how many plots we can inspire, and how their stories unfold.
Hacking Health Cafe – Hamilton #1
On October 22, 2013, the first Hacking Health Cafe Hamilton was held at the spacious McMaster Innovation Park - Innovation Factory in Hamilton, Ontario. Healthcare professionals, developers, designers, and others from across Hamilton and the GTA interested in how technology can be used to improve healthcare attended the Cafe to talk and exchange experiences and listen to two guest speakers talk about their work in this emerging field.
The first speaker, Dr. Michael Pray, a family doctor, associate lead physician for IT at the Hamilton Family Health Team and Peer to Peer Leader at OntarioMD, talked about his experience working with Electronic Medical Records (EMR) and the potential in using mobile devices to access patient information. He also talked about the role of provincial and federal governments in initiating and fostering—and sometimes hindering—innovation in healthcare.
Meanwhile, the second speaker, Duane Bender, a software engineer, enterprise technology architect and instructor at Mohawk College, talked about his work at MEDIC, which stands for Mohawk eHealth Development and Innovation Centre. MEDIC enables IT integration, innovation and commercialization in the healthcare sector. Mr. Bender talked about the successful Apps for Health program and how the Canadian healthcare system was poised to make great strides
In all, the first Hacking Health Cafe Hamilton was quite successful. The two speakers introduced attendees to the broader world of technology and healthcare, inspiring the crowd to consider in their projects the less tangible but no less important areas of government policies and patient experience and health outcomes. The lively crowd of around 50 talked amongst themselves before and after the event, sharing stories and networking over pizza and drinks.
As the Hacking Health movement expands across the country and around the globe, Hamilton is an ideal location to further the movement with its institutions of higher education, health and medical centres, and burgeoning community of developers, designers, and entrepreneurs.
The inaugural Hacking Health Cafe Hamilton was sponsored by Hamilton Economic Development and the McMaster eHealth Graduate Program. Hamilton Economic Development produced a video showcasing highlights from the Cafe.
on behalf of the HH Hamilton Team
Hiring a designer
We’re looking for an amazing front end designer who can help us scale up our site to meet the needs of our ever growing global audience.
If you are looking to
- design an innovative site for our unique approach to healthcare
- travel the world to our hackathons
- work with a dynamic team and the newest technologies
Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more info about salary and job specs.
I am ‘Looking For’…
Here are a few examples of what you could add to the Looking For section on Sparkboard. We’ll be sure to review it periodically and help in any way we can!
- Connections to early user groups. For instance, a past HH group was connected to the mental health association in BC.
- Assistance with identifying and connecting with customers or early users.
- Connection to developers
- Connection to designers
- Connection to mentors with a business background
- Connection to IP lawyers
- Connection to physicians/clinicians/healthcare professionals
We’ll update this post as we come up with more examples of what we can help with going forward!
Office of the Information and Privacy Commissoner of Alberta joins Hacking Health Edmonton!
Privacy and confidentiality of patient health information are key factors in the making of digital health tools. Often we find teams and startups intimidated by the regulatory environment of health IT.
As such, we are very excited to be partnerning with the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissoner of Alberta (OIPC) to help teams understand and navigate the health information regulations in Alberta.
Mentors from the OIPC will be available to help teams from the start so that privacy and confidentiality of patient data is an inherent part of the development process!
We’re very grateful to the OIPC and Brian Hamilton, Director, Compliance and Special Investigations, in taking the initiative to support this grassroots community event.
Our Awesome Volunteers @ HHTO2013
Thank you so much for all your work and support and making #HHTO2013 be a successful event!
Cesar Ghisilleri - https://www.facebook.com/cesargphoto
Connie Tsang - http://ardenstreet.wordpress.com/
Ian Darwin - http://www.flickr.com/photos/65564812@N08/sets/
DJ - Zohair Nawab – www.soundcloud.com/znawab
From all of us on the #HHTO2013 Organizing Committee,
Aarti Mathur, Alfred Junco, Ali Junco, Elina Lawrie, Fanny Sie, Hadi Salah, June Avila, Katrin Altosaar, Lindsay Archibald, Nirusan Rajakulendran, Shreya Tekriwal
More photos available on our Facebook Page.
Winners at Hacking Health Toronto 2013 @ MaRS
Congratulations to everyone who participated in Hacking Health Toronto 2013. Your energy and passion through the weekend was inspiring!
To the winners – well done! We will be in touch with you soon to connect you with your prize sponsors.
People’s Choice Award – Wearable Technology Fights Nicotine Addiction
- Best Solution for Clinical Application - S.O.S
- Best Solution for Health Administration - PatientFlow
- Best Solution for Consumer Health/Patient Application - My Baby and Me Passport
- Hacking Health Choice – GLIA
Self Care Catalyst Award – PatientFlow
Pivot Designs Award – AYAP (Adolescents & Young Adults with Cancer)
BEWorks Award – Blu+
PwC Canada Award – GLIA
Women’s College Highest Fruit Award (for 3 teams)
View all projects at #HHTO2013 at Sparkboard.
Event photos available on our Facebook Page.
Spotlight on Patients Canada (November 3, 2013)
When building technology in health care, we often get side-tracked in the technical details, and lose sight of the real reason why we’re developing these solutions in the first place — to help patients. The ultimate end user of our latest apps and gadgets are the patients, and more than ever, we need to engage patients first and foremost in the development cycle. Emily Nicholas and Alies Maybee from Patient Canada are mentors for Hacking Health, and their continuous support for the group has helped us keep the focus on building solutions WITH the patient, as opposed to FOR the patient. A big thanks to Emily and Alies, as well as Brian Clark and Sholom Glouberman, for your mentorship and guidance!
Patients Canada: http://www.patientscanada.ca
The HH Toronto Team
Hacking Health Toronto – PRIZES! (October 29, 2013)
With just a few weeks left until the Toronto hackathon, it’s time to announce some of the prizes that our sponsors and supporters have generously donated for the event. Today, we’re showcasing the prize from Women’s College Hospital (WCH) – the Hacking Health Highest Fruit Prize for Best Innovation for the care of complex patients. This prize will be awarded to teams that design and develop an innovative approach to caring for complex patients. The prize is divided into two phases:
- Phase 1: Two to three teams will be selected to participate in a sponsored human-centered design workshop
- Phase 2: One team will be selected after a 3-month trial to join a health service design incubator at WCH.
For more information, please contact the HH team at email@example.com.
- The HH Toronto Team
Mobile Health in Africa (October 6, 2013)
More and more, we hear about how mobile technology is transforming the way healthcare is being delivered in developing economies, including Africa. Recently, the MIT Technology Review published an interesting article on this topic (http://www.technologyreview.com/view/519041/how-cell-phones-are-transforming-health-care-in-africa/), where Seth Berkley from GAVI Alliance comments on how mobile phones essentially provide a rich source of data for trending health issues. Similarly, Canada’s own IDRC has focused on the mHealth topic in Africa (http://www.idrc.ca/EN/Resources/Publications/Pages/ArticleDetails.aspx?PublicationID=640), which reports that wireless network infrastructure has resulted in “an improvement in both the timeliness and accuracy of data reporting”. Big companies such as Microsoft and Vodafone have been involved in these partnerships, but putting the conglomerates aside, it makes us wonder – if a simple SMS messaging system can create such a difference in how an aid worker delivers vaccination in a remote African village, then how about the types of apps we’re designing back at home? Do our designs help solve a fundamental healthcare problem, or just a tangential one? Sometimes the ones with the less resources at hand are the most resourceful.
Hacking Health Café - Toronto #4 (September 30, 2013)
We had yet another great turnout at Toronto’s HH Café #4, with new faces from a diverse range of professions coming in to mix and mingle on innovative healthcare ideas. Dr. John Reeves and Dr. Joseph Cafazzo were our keynote speakers, where each presented different perspectives on solving real-life problems in the clinical environment. As Founder and Managing Partner of Liberate Health, Dr. Reeves presented the Liberate solution as a tool for physicians and medical authorities to share patient educational information. From the other side, Dr. Cafazzo showcased some of the very cool apps that his Centre for Global eHealth Innovation group have developed, and also gave a sneak peek into the upcoming Toronto HH Hackathon event, which will take place in November at MaRS. With less than two weeks until the Toronto Hackathon, the local digital and clinical community is already drumming up a lot of momentum and excitement for the next big healthcare movement.
-The HH Toronto Team
Return on Investment?
Often we get questions about how many of the teams that form at Hacking Health turn into startups or even if any the projects have developed into products. Sometimes these questions are followed up by remarks on Return on Investment, metrics, and other - mostly hollow and vicarious business speak terms.
And while we can answer some of these questions, and this perspective can be important, it is not an appropriate way of examining the value of something like Hacking Health.
To answer these questions, we need to go on a detour and while scenic, it does circle back to the original question.
Say for example, you asked a family doctor how many lives he saved in a day. Most would have to say none, as in, its likely that none of the patients that came to the clinic today would have died had they missed their appointment or if the doctor had not seen them.
Ask the same question to an emergency room physician, and they would probably be able to mention a few cases over the course of a day. Ask the trauma team surgeon the same question, and most likely all his cases that day (if any came in that day) would be life saving.
How many lives have been saved, or in this analogy how many companies formed or products sold, depend on the who is being addressed and also the cost.
As a family doctor, I may see 20 even thirty patients in a day, and though none would have died if they didn’t come, they are arguably healthier than if they hadn’t. Even if they’re no better off, it costs around 30 - 50 dollars for a family doctor to see a patient.
The Emerg doc, over a shift will see their share of stomach flus and other non urgent matters but there also be the heart attacks that need saving. Still, its at least a thousand dollars just to register at triage in the ER, let alone all the extra costs on top of that.
And for the trauma surgeon, on a quiet night he won’t operate, but when a car crash comes in, he is definitely saving lives. How much the surgery, the operating room time, and hospital admission cost is itself hard to measure but were in the 10 to 100s of thousands of dollars range here.
The point of all this, a superficial measurement like how many lives were saved, is not a good way at looking at the value of all levels of healthcare.
So when were asked questions that are typically for venture capitalists, like how many companies form, my answer is probably very few but even if it is zero, our cost is a fraction of what a venture funds invest, let alone how much they likely cost even to stay open for a day.
Further, we are not addressing existing startups or companies that have had long lead ups to coming for funding. We are working outside the pipeline of technology development. Were not just trying to get those outside of it to enter, like physician and surgeons. We are also making that entry higher yield but foster meaningful collaboration across fields.
Thinking about Hacking Health, like our concept itself, requires an innovative approach. We started Hacking Health because too often important approaches that are multidisciplinary and collaborative have just become buzz words and cliches. Similarly the importance of quantitatively evaluating a method or experiment, requires more than just borrowing words like ROI or outcomes.
Hacking Health Cafe Toronto #1
We’re very excited for our first Hacking Health Cafe in Toronto. Check out our speakers for the evening!
Vice-President Marketing at Nightingale
Colin loves working in the IT field and has helped various entrepreneurial software companies achieve breakthrough growth through creative campaigns, over-quota sales and creating high-performing work environments. He’s a true believe of healthcare IT and co-hosts the #hcldr chat held every Tuesday at 8:30pm ET.
Dr. Jordan Weinstein
Nephrologist, St. Michael’s Hospital; Assistant Professor of Medicine, University of Toronto; Director, BrightBean Solutions Inc.
Dr. Weinstein clinical interests are in diabetic hypertension and chronic kidney disease, kidney stones and management of end-stage renal failure. He has led several hundred continuing medical education events at a regional, national and international level. Dr. Weinstein also has a strong interest in adult e-Learning and quality improvement using technology. He is the founder of BrightBean Solutions, a boutique development firm behind several online educational initiatives, most notably UKidney.com.
Founder and Creative Director,Pivot Design Group; Founder, DesignMeets; Communications Director, Pencils for Kids; Advisor, Sheridan College’s Bachelor of Interaction Design Program; Advisor, George Brown School of Design Management Program; Advisor, Stone Soup.
A graduate of OCADU in both Fine Arts and Communication Design, Ian has over 20 years of expertise in creative problem finding & solving, graphic design, corporate communications, not-for-profit campaigns and user-centered design. Ian’s mission is to use design as a strategic driver to improve the health and well-being of people, services and organizations. In addition to launching Pivot Design Group (1998), Ian also co-founded Torch Partnership in 2006, a Design Strategy firm, and Akendi in 2008, a Usability Design firm.
Representative, Patients’ Association of Canada
Alies has a background in software design and product management for major CRM systems as well as startup clinical management/EMR system. Her experiences as patient and with healthcare technology led her to believe patients have a role in healthcare and therefore, to become involved with the Patients’ Association of Canada.
Dr. Naheed Dosani
Co-Chief, Family Medicine Residency Program, St. Michael’s Hospital, University of Toronto, Department of Family & Community Medicine
Naheed Dosani is a Resident Physician with the Department of Family & Community Medicine at the University of Toronto and serves as Co-Chief Resident of St. Michael’s Hospital Family Medicine Residency Program. He teaches undergraduate medical students, represents his peers with the Family Medicine Residents Association of Toronto and is active with Students for Medicare. He will be starting a PGY-3 year-long fellowship on July 1st at the University of Toronto, in Palliative Care. Dr. Dosani is passionate about the social determinants of health, inner city health, global health and social media. Follow Naheed on Twitter @NaheedD.
fliiSolutions Gets Acquired: The Full Success Story
Earlier this week, fliiSolutions was acquired by PatientOrderSets.com and we’ve been waiting to share the story with you ever since! It’s not only a success story for Saurabh Mukhi (founder of fliiSolutions) but it’s also a matter of pride for our team given that fliiSolutions was a Hacking Health graduate.
Saurabh’s first product, fliiTheraphy helped take physiotherapy to a whole new level by making it easier for healthcare providers to remotely administer personalized care plans for their patients. By creating a two-way link, fliiTheraphy allows care providers to view real-time reports as well as communicate feedback and instruction to patients in the form of a text or video message. With this app, care providers can track patients’ compliance, including rehabilitation programs, medication schedules, vital signs and the relevant metrics.
How it all began
It was at Hacking Health Toronto in October 2012 when we were first introduced to Saurabh and his idea. Over the weekend-long event held at MaRS, Saurabh presented his idea and worked hard to fine-tune the prototype as well as its target market and business strategy. It was also here where Saurabh connected with one of our mentors, Ben Matthews from HTX (one of our sponsors).
After Hacking Health, Ben connected Saurabh to the owner of a private physiotherapy clinic, who became fliiSolutions’ first customer. Saurabh then went on to develop a complete mobile version of the app that redefined personalized rehabilitation programs and patient empowerment.
Less than a year later, after leveraging the Market Intelligence program and advisory services at MaRS as well as with Ben’s guidance, Saurabh was ultimately connected to PatientOrderSets.com.
PatientOrderSets.com is a web-based collaborative network that allows hospitals and healthcare institutions to develop, share and deploy order forms used by specialist providers. For Saurabh, the decision to partner with the company was based on the following question: can fliiSolutions help more patients under the PatientOrderSets.com umbrella? The answer was an enthusiastic yes!
‘PatientOrderSets.com solutions are in over 260 hospitals and health care organizations already. The opportunity to offer my platform to so many more people is something I may not have achieved on my own so quickly,” Saurabh said.
“PatientOrderSets is getting two great assets: Saurabh himself and the fliiSolutions engine,” Ben added. “[fliiSolutions] is a great example of mobile health extending healthcare into the patient’s home that provides benefits for both the practitioner and the patient. Practitioners get greater connectivity and follow up, and patients improve connectivity and treatment compliance,” Ben added.
Saurabh will be joining the PatientOrderSets.com team as Vice-President of Business Development, Emerging Technologies and continuing the pursuit of his vision – to support and empower patients. And we wish him as well as his team the very best!
fliiSolution’s success truly helps demonstrate the purpose of Hacking Health, including the idea of mentorship. It also reinforces the belief that innovation can occur within healthcare through collaboration and mentorship. In light of this, we’d like to thank all our awesome mentors and partners for their time and effort—in the past and going forward!
To end it off, here are a few words of advice from Ben for everyone working to build upon their great idea and looking to transform healthcare:
“Get that first customer, whether that is pilot or paying. If you can’t get a customer, something might be wrong; so ask why is it that they aren’t adopting. Sometimes a ‘no’ is the most interesting feedback.”
Congrats once again, Saurabh, the fliiSolutions team and PatientOrderSets.com!
Shreya & The HH Team